Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) this week proposed legislation that would give federal employees a 3.3 percent pay raise, and became the latest Democrat to propose their first significant raise seen in years.
House Republicans have worked for the last several years to trim discretionary federal spending, including Congress's own budget. Earlier this month, the House passed a 2015 funding bill for the Legislative Branch that was the same as this year's budget, and the House has approved a 14 percent cut in its own funding since the GOP took control in 2010.
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), third from left, and other Democrats have been pushing for a pay raise for federal workers. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Federal workers got a 1 percent raise last year, after seeing freezes in 2011 and 2012. The slow wage growth has led Democrats to accuse Republicans of trying to balance the federal budget on the backs of federal workers, which they say is leading to a demoralized workforce.
"Not only has our federal workforce been demonized and demoralized by the constant attacks from the House majority and the Tea Party, over the last four years federal wages have lagged far behind the private sector and have even failed to keep up with the rate of inflation," said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who proposed his own 3.3 percent raise for federal workers back in March.
Connolly released a statement in March that said frozen federal wages have prompted many college graduates to turn down careers in the federal government, and has many federal managers "questioning why they should remain in the federal service."
"Federal workers deserve to be compensated for the vital role they play in the lives of millions of Americans," Moran said.
"These are the men and women finding lifesaving cures at NIH, catching criminals, supporting our troops, and protecting the environment. They have bills to pay and families to raise."
Sen. Schatz proposed his bill on Thursday, with no cosponsors and without issuing a statement. Connolly's bill has 20 Democratic cosponsors, as well as the support of federal employee organizations.
"Federal workers have done more than their fair share to reduce the federal deficit," said NTEU National President Colleen Kelley, when Connolly's bill came out. "This 3.3 percent raise for 2015 will help them keep up with rising costs of groceries, housing, gas and health care."
"Federal employees have seen their standard of living deteriorate in recent years due to a three-year pay freeze, unpaid furloughs, and higher retirement contributions for newer workers," said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. "A 3.3 percent pay raise would help federal employees recoup some of that lost income and ensure the government is able to recruit and retain the high caliber workers that taxpayers expect."