Proposed legislation released on July 28 by the Senate Appropriations Committee augurs well for the eventual approval of a 4.6 percent pay raise for Federal civilian government employees for 2023.

That’s because the Senate’s version of proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 spending legislation – as contained in the “chairman’s mark” version of 12 different spending bills released by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. – does not feature language that runs counter to the Biden administration’s 4.6 percent Federal civilian pay raise proposed in March.

Likewise, spending legislation that cleared the House earlier this year does not run counter to the administration’s proposed Federal civilian pay raise for 2023.

While final FY2023 appropriations still have a long way to go before becoming law – including Senate debate and passage, and then a conference committee process to work out differences between approved House and Senate spending bills – the absence of objections thus far in both House and Senate bills to the proposed pay raise is encouraging for its eventual enactment.

The proposed 4.6 percent pay raise would be the biggest since 2002 when President George W. Bush’s administration granted the same increase. President Biden granted a 2.7 percent pay increase for the Federal civilian workforce in 2022. Separate pay raise legislation filed earlier this year by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Sen. Brian Schatz, argues in favor of a 5.1 percent Federal civilian raise for 2023.

TMF Left Out

The proposed legislation released by the Senate Appropriations Committee is not nearly as kind to the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF), which is administered by the General Services Administration and provides funding to Federal agencies to upgrade their IT infrastructure.

According to an explanatory statement for the Financial Services and General Government portion of the FY2023 appropriations legislation, the committee wants to provide no additional funding for TMF in FY2023.

The Biden administration asked for $300 million in new TMF funding, and appropriations legislation approved by the House offers a $100 million funding bump.

The Senate Appropriations Committee offered little detail on its thinking, other than to note that TMF received a $1 billion cash infusion under the American Rescue Plan Act.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.