President Joe Biden is planning to give federal employees a substantial pay raise in 2023.
In letters to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Vice President Kamala Harris in her capacity as President of the Senate, Biden announced his plans to give federal government employees an across-the-board pay raise of 4.1%, with an average locality-based pay raise of 0.5%; meaning some 2.1 million federal employees will receive raises of 4.6%, on average. The pay raises will take effect on January 1, 2023.
“Title 5 [of the] United States Code, authorizes me to implement alternative plans for pay adjustments for civilian Federal employees covered by the General Schedule and certain other pay systems if, because of ‘national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare,’ I view the increases that would otherwise take effect as inappropriate,” Biden wrote in the letter. “Accordingly, I have determined that it is appropriate to exercise my authority to set alternative pay adjustments for 2023. Specifically, I have determined that for 2023, the across-the-board base pay increase will be 4.1 percent and locality pay increases will average 0.5 percent, resulting in an overall average increase of 4.6 percent for civilian Federal employees, consistent with the assumption in my 2023 Budget.”
Under federal law, if the president wishes to institute a pay raise above and beyond the normal raise, he must submit his plan to Congress by September 1 of the preceding year, including the reasons for instituting the raise. In considering any such raises, the president needs to consider “pertinent economic measures,” including the national GDP, the unemployment rate, the budget deficit, the Consumer Price Index, and the Producer Price Index.
Biden cited a continuing recruitment crisis as the reason for the raise. “Federal agencies have witnessed growing recruitment and retention challenges with Federal positions experiencing eroded compensation,” Biden wrote.
“Multiple years of lower pay raises for Federal civilian employees than called for under regular law have resulted in a substantial pay gap for Federal employees compared to the private sector,” he continued. “The American people rely on Federal agencies being managed and staffed by skilled, talented, and engaged employees, including those possessing critical skills sets, which requires keeping Federal pay competitive. This alternative pay plan decision will allow the Federal Government to better compete in the labor market to attract and retain a well‑qualified Federal workforce.”
The Washington Post reported that the pay raise will apply to more than 2.1 million executive branch employees. However, the raise plan can be overridden if Congress passes its own set of raises into law.
The raises for government workers come at a time when Americans’ real wages continue to decline. The Daily Wire reported in April that Americans’ real average hourly earnings dropped 2.7%.
The plan also follows an article from the Associated Press touting the racial and gender diversity at the Federal Reserve, despite soaring inflation and an economy in recession. The article, titled “Fed tackles inflation with its most diverse leadership ever,” was blistered by conservatives, who pointed out that the Fed has done a terrible job of reining in runaway inflation so far.