House Appropriations Legislation Includes Pay Raise for Federal Employees, Spending Boosts for IRS

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The House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government passed a bill yesterday which includes $24.55 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $1.4 billion over the 2019 enacted funding levels and $355.5 million over the president’s 2020 budget request. The bill grants federal employees the largest pay raise in over 10 years.

Under the legislation, federal employees would receive a 2.6 percent increase in basic rate of pay and an average locality pay increase of .5 percent.

“Federal employees earn less today than they did at the start of the decade, due to years of pay freezes and incremental adjustments that have failed to keep pace with inflation. Many agencies are struggling to recruit and retain employees due to noncompetitive salaries that lag private-sector standards,” American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox. Sr. said in a statement to Federal Times.

“This pay raise is a critical investment in our government’s most valuable resource — its workers. It also maintains the decades-long principle of providing equal pay adjustments to the government’s civilian employees and service members, since it matches the 3.1 percent raise the Trump administration has proposed for the military next year.”

This legislation also provides a funding boost to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which has dealt with budget cuts for several years.

In April, Thomas Burger, President of the Professional Managers Association, a professional organization representing IRS employees, called for an end to IRS spending cuts.

“For nearly a decade, the IRS budget has been slashed. The American people rely on the IRS to collect revenue and administer taxes effectively. When Congress consistently reduces the agency’s budget this mission is increasingly difficult. Ongoing continuing resolutions, shutdowns, and budget cuts are counterproductive and will cost the American people more in the long run,” Burger noted in a letter to Congress, “Chronic underfunding undermines IT modernization efforts within the agency. Congress and the administration must come together to ensure the IRS has the resources it needs to serve the public and provide the customer experience the public expects.”

The House legislation responds to these crisis calls with a $697.4 million budget increase over 2019 enacted levels. The $12 billion allocated to the IRS also surpasses presidential funding requests by $166 million.

For Taxpayer Services, $2.6 billion--an increase of $67 million--is allocated. These services include grant programs for Tax Counseling for the Elderly, Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics, and Community Volunteer Income Tax Assistance.

The legislation also allocates $5.2 billion for enforcement, $4 billion for Operations Support, $290 million for Business Systems Modernization.

The legislation passed the House subcommittee via voice vote and now heads to the full committee for markup.

Posted in From the Hill

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