News Release, Office of U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen(D-Md)
Washington, D.C.-Tuesday, January 29, 2019, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) introduced legislation to provide federal employees with a 2.6 percent cost of living increase. Last year, President Trump announced a pay freeze for civil servants for 2019, which he can do unilaterally unless Congress acts. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on their companion legislation to this measure on Wednesday.
“Our federal workforce protects our nation, ensures the safety of our food and medicine, delivers Social Security and veterans’ benefits, and carries out countless other responsibilities on behalf of our citizens. President Trump’s shutdown just stranded more than 800,000 of these men and women without pay for over a month – at the same time that the Trump Pay Freeze took effect. Now more than ever, they deserve this cost of living adjustment to help make ends meet,” said Senator Van Hollen.“I was proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass a 1.9 percent pay raise in the Senate prior to the government shutdown, and in light of the added costs imposed on federal workers by the shutdown, I urge my colleagues to support this modest 2.6 percent raise.”
“Federal workers have shown during this historic shutdown how invaluable they are to the daily functioning of our nation. They should be compensated accordingly,” said Senator Cardin. “Congressional approval of a small increase in pay, comparable to what has been granted to our service members, would be a helpful measure in restoring faith in a system that left them in financial limbo for a record 35 days.”
“All of our public servants deserve better than what we’ve seen from this Administration. Right before the New Year the President issued an executive order to freeze pay rates for our hardworking federal workforce,” said Senator Warner. “And to add insult to injury, the Trump Administration held the pay of federal workers hostage during the longest shutdown in U.S. history. Our career federal employees deserve better. It’s time to provide a much-needed pay raise to our federal workforce who’ve been consistently undervalued by this Administration.”
“Federal workers in Virginia and across the country have shown steadfast commitment to service despite the uncertainty and hardship caused by this Administration. This bill would give these workers a raise to reflect increases in the cost of living, so that on top of the pain many of them felt during the shutdown, it isn’t harder for these hardworking families to buy groceries or cover their mortgages,” Senator Kaine said.
“The government shutdown was a brutal reminder of what federal workers do for the country,” Senator Schatz said. “A reasonable pay increase for federal workers is the least we can do to show that the American people value their service.”
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Van Hollen secured a 1.9 percent pay increase as part of the Fiscal Year 2019 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, which passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support. In addition to these efforts, in December a group of Senators led by Senator Van Hollen sent a letter to President Donald Trump, urging him in the strongest possible terms to back off the pay freeze. Prior to the shutdown, the Senator filed an amendment to the Senate’s short-term Continuing Resolution to provide a 1.9 percent cost of living adjustment for federal workers.