House bill prohibits within-grade increases in 2012

Monday - 2/6/2012, 8:15am EST

A bill in the House would prohibit within-grade pay increases through 2012 for federal employees.

The provision is part of a larger piece of legislation — the Honest Budget Act of 2012 — to root out "budget gimmicks," according to a statement by bill sponsor Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.)

Federal employees are currently in year two of a two-year pay freeze. The freeze does not affect within-grade pay increases.

Roby's proposal would "make it more difficult to pass appropriation bills without first approving a budget and ending the days of the Senate going without a budget for more than 1,000 days," Roby said in her a written statement of her floor comments.

The bill would also make it more difficult to designate funds for emergency or disaster funds as a way to pass spending.

The bill was introduced on Jan. 31 and has 28 cosponsors.

The news of the within-grade provision of the bill was first reported by Government Executive.

The provision is just one of a growing list that take aim at federal pay and benefits to cut budgets. Last week, the House approved a federal pay freeze through 2013 on the heels of a Congressional Budget Office report that found feds overall on average made 16 percent more than their private sector counterparts. The pay gap, however, depends on educational level, and feds with higher education degrees actually make less than the private sector.

The House had also approved a one-year extension of the federal pay freeze late last year to offset the cost of an extension of the payroll tax cut. The Senate blocked that measure and is unlikely to approve the freeze passed by the House last week.

Also last week, House Republicans proposed a plan to freeze federal pay through mid-2014 and cut the workforce by 5 percent as a way to avoid defense cuts.

Q&A on within-grade step increases (OPM).

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