12/20/06: NTEU voiced concern about a possible yearlong continuing resolution to cover nine unresolved appropriations bills—Defense and Homeland Security have passed—warning that it could leave agencies underfunded and hinder the fight for a fair 2007 pay raise.
Sens. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and David Obey (D-Wis.), incoming appropriations committee chairmen, last week announced their intention to fund the entire fiscal 2007 year through a continuing resolution, after the current one expires on Feb. 15.
While the chairmen indicated that they would address priority funding needs by eliminating earmarks from the draft bills, the details of how the long-term continuing resolution would work are still being determined. Some agencies will likely be funded at 2006 levels, but the chairmen said that “limited adjustments” could be made at other agencies to address the nation’s most important policy concerns. NTEU’s fight for a higher federal pay raise will become more difficult. One of the appropriations bills left unfinished would have provided a 2.7 percent average pay increase for federal employees, but now, a 2.2 percent pay plan put forth by the president will go into effect in January. Under the president’s plan, roughly half the federal workforce would receive an increase of only 1.8 percent, and would bear the brunt of the lowest federal pay raise in 18 years (see the draft 2007 pay and locality tables). NTEU will continue to advocate strongly for a higher 2007 pay raise for all federal employees and adequate funding for agencies when Congress returns to complete its 2007 appropriations.