Pay for federal civilian employees will be frozen at current rates at least until the FY2013 budget is passed by the Congress, according to a recommendation by President Obama.  In a memo sent to Congress yesterday, the president said “Congress should maintain current pay rates during the period of the continuing resolution.” 

This does not mean that the president is abandoning the proposed .5 percent pay raise for federal civilian employees included in his FY2013 budget request.   In the memo, Obama reaffirmed his support for the .5 percent pay raise along with a locality pay freeze. 

But, the president recommended that pay rates for federal civilian employees, frozen for the past two years, remain unchanged until a FY2013 budget is passed, probably next spring.  The current congressional leadership agreement calls for a FY2013 continuing resolution to extend until the end of March 2013.  Congress will vote on the proposed CR when they return in September.

To date, Congress has shown little support for the .5 percent civilian pay raise.  The House FY2013 Budget Resolution recommends a pay freeze through 2015.  And, all of the House-passed FY2013 appropriations bills have excluded funding for a civilian pay raise.  The White House has cited this as a possible reason for a presidential veto of these bills.  However, it is not clear that the president would veto a bill solely on the grounds of a pay raise rejection.  Senate committees have been largely silent on the FY2013 pay raise issue in legislative action so far.