The White House’s fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request sent to Congress today proposes a 4.6 percent pay increase for Federal civilian employees and military service members – the largest Federal pay raise in 20 years.

The Biden administration noted the proposed pay raise aims to help retain the government’s valued workforce and close the growing gap between Federal pay and private sector compensation. According to the White House, between 2009 and 2020, U.S. average worker pay rose by 38 percent while Federal civilian pay rose by only 15 percent.

“The proposed Federal pay increase is needed to prevent Federal pay from falling even further behind,” the White House wrote in the Analytical Perspectives section of the budget request. “This pay raise helps ensure fair compensation for employees, by keeping pace with economic indicators – and, also recognizes the Federal workforce’s tireless and selfless dedication to mission and service to the American people.”

The White House said the pay raise is in line with the President’s Management Agenda (PMA), which places an emphasis on strengthening and empowering the Federal workforce. In addition to the pay raise, the budget also includes dedicated investments to attract top talent, expand Federal agency “Talent Teams,” improve Federal hiring processes, and expand recruitment efforts outside of the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

The 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 2022.

“This would be the biggest pay raise the Federal workforce has seen in twenty years, boosting morale and helping make the Federal government a more attractive employer to the talent we want to attract to the civil service,” said Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va. “Feds absolutely deserve a raise, and I will work diligently with my colleagues to help advance this proposal over the coming year.”

While significant, the 4.6 percent increase is slightly less than some might have hoped for, including Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, who introduced a 5.1 percent pay raise earlier this year.

Nevertheless, Rep. Connolly said today that President Biden made his commitment to the Federal workforce “ironclad” with this latest pay increase proposal.

“This would be the largest pay increase for Federal workers in decades, and it would be critical to our efforts to attract and retain the next generation of Feds,” Rep. Connolly said in a tweet.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.