Obama Offers Troops 1 Percent Raise, Freezes Top Brass Pay

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

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Chuck Hagel announced on Monday that general and flag officer pay will be frozen next year, as the Pentagon looks for savings. By Eric Katz

President Obama will propose a 1 percent pay raise for both civilian federal employees and service members in his fiscal 2015 budget, according to an administration official.

Obama’s recommendation, which he will unveil on March 4 as part of the budget release, proposes the same raise that federal workers received in 2014. The 2014 boost ended a three-year pay freeze for civilian workers, while military personnel have received a raise each year Obama has been in office.

The White House official said the 1 percent raise “reflects the tight budget constraints we continue to face, while also recognizing the critical role these civilian employees play in our country — doing everything from assuring the safety of our food and airways, to securing our borders, to providing health care to veterans, to searching for cures to diseases. It also recognizes the sacrifices they have already made through prior pay freezes, reductions in awards, and furloughs due to sequestration last year.”

The official added the proposal would help the government recruit and retain the nation’s “best and brightest,” and promised the budget would include “other measures” to ensure federal employees are fairly compensated.

The military pay increase — which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday would not apply to generals and flag officers — was recommended by senior uniformed leadership. 

“The pay increase is part of a larger package of compensation reforms that our military leadership has recommended to control rising compensation costs and allow for investments in the training, equipment and support that our troops need,” the White House official said.

Obama pitched a 1 percent raise for military in his fiscal 2014 budget as well. The House initially backed a 1.8 percent increase, but it ultimately approved the White House’s figure.  

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