House approves raise in federal pay


WASHINGTON -- The House approved a 3 percent pay increase for federal workers last night.

The pay plan, offered by Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., as part of the appropriations bill for the Treasury Department, the U.S. Postal Service and other government agencies, would give the nation's 1.3 million federal workers a 2 percent pay raise and half of their scheduled "locality pay" next year.

Locality pay is intended to increase federal-worker salaries in areas where private-sector employees earn higher salaries for comparable work.

For the 280,000 Washington-Baltimore area federal employees, the combined raise would be slightly more than 3 percent, tTC although that figure could change after salary surveys are completed in late summer.

The average white-collar federal worker in the Baltimore area received $37,926 last spring, according to the Office of Personnel Management, so the average salary boost would amount to about $1,130.

The House approved the appropriations bill 201 to 139.

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-6th, Western Maryland, was the onlymember of Maryland's delegation to vote against the measure.

The bill would provide $1.8 billion for federal salaries next year, less than the $3.5 billion needed to fully finance federal pay but $700 million more than President Clinton originally recommended his fiscal 1995 budget.

The measure now will be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Federal workers are fighting for more money and argue that their ranks should not be squeezed by budgetary belt-tightening.

"We understand that the Senate and the House have dealt with extreme financial constraints, but we also recognize that our members have dealt with financial constraints for years now," said Magda Seymour, a spokeswoman for the American Federation of Government Employees.

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