In many ways, the last few years have been difficult for the American people, particularly financially. Inflation has spiraled out of control, and while it is finally subsiding, millions of families are still struggling. President Joe Biden is now attempting to assist federal employees during the ongoing economic crisis.
The President of the United States released his fiscal 2024 budget plan on Thursday, March 9. In it, the president proposed a 5.2% pay increase for military personnel and federal employees on average. According to Government Executive, the White House is emphasizing the proposal as part of a larger effort to ensure the federal government is “equitable, effective, and accountable.”
If Congress agrees, the salary increase will take effect in January of next year. It would be the most significant increase in 43 years. The previous high was set in 1980 by a 9.1% raise for federal employees.
According to the Washington Post, there is already opposition to the raises. House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) chastised the president for attempting to “protect federal workers’ pay and benefits from the price-tag of inflation,” while American taxpayers who do not work for the government help fund his policies. He went on to say that lawmakers should prioritize taxpayers. The representative has not yet introduced legislation to raise the federal minimum wage.
POLITICO reporter Connor O’Brien reported the president’s budget proposal also includes a 3.3% increase in defense spending over last year, which includes the 5.2% raise for the military.
According to the Biden Administration, the raise is required if federal agencies want to attract private-sector workers. Republicans aren’t the only ones opposed to the raise. The percentage, according to Everett Kelley, president of the American Federation of Government Employees National, falls short of the raise required to “make serious progress in closing the double-digit pay gap” between private sector and federal workers.