|President Biden Releases Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request|
SUMMARY: The administration released President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request, calling for an increase in funding to many agencies and proposing an average 4.6 percent pay increase for federal employees.
Today, President Biden released his fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request, which asks for significant increases in both defense and non-defense discretionary spending.
As part of the request, the President calls for a 4.6 percent pay increase for federal employees. However, the document is silent as to whether any amount is allocated for locality pay. Under the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990, employees should receive a 4.1 percent increase prior to any increases to locality pay rates. A pay increase of 4.6 percent is also proposed for members of the military, providing parity once again. According to the White House, between 2009 and 2020, U.S. average worker pay rose by 38 percent while federal civilian pay increases amounted to only a 15 percent increase, creating a real risk of attrition within the existing workforce, reducing the competitiveness of federal jobs, and devaluing the contributions of the federal workforce to the Nation. According to the budget documents released today, “[t]his 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.” This is a solid start to achieving the fair pay increase federal employees deserve. However, NTEU will continue to work with Congress and the administration in support for the FAIR Act (H.R. 6398/S. 3518), which provides an average 5.1 percent increase consisting of a 4.1 percent across-the-board increase and 1.0 percent for locality pay.
The FY 2023 budget request notes that the administration is proposing several changes to federal compensation, including modifying critical position pay, establishing a critical skills incentive, increasing the special rate limitation for certain positions, and updating General Schedule pay setting for new appointments. It also states that over the course of FY 2023, the administration will continue to make progress in agency relations with federal employee unions and highlights the efforts to date, including resetting labor relations across the government, expanding the scope of workplace topics on which agencies engage their unions, rolling back many anti-union policies previously imposed on the workforce, and establishing the Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment.
In addition, the budget proposals aim to improve access to behavioral health services by requiring coverage of three primary visits and three behavior health visits without cost-sharing for all Federal Employees Health Benefit Program plans. It also proposes dedicated new investments to:
· Attract and hire the most qualified employees by bolstering federal paid internship programs and providing funds to support increased paid internship programs.
· Build on the concept of federal agency “Talent Teams” to identify agency strategic human capital needs and translate those needs into hiring actions.
· Improve federal hiring processes by scaling subject matter qualification assessments and enabling the sharing of qualified applicant lists among agencies.
· Expand the federal presence, capacity, and recruitment efforts in communities outside of the Washington, D.C. metro area by reforming, reimagining, and strengthening Federal Executive Boards.
Regarding specific agency funding, the FY 2023 budget request sent to Congress today seeks across-the-board increases in discretionary spending for almost every agency. The proposal calls for providing the IRS with $14.1 billion for FY 2023, an increase of more than $1.5 billion over the current level. This includes an additional $903 million to improve and expand taxpayer services, and $834 million to strengthen taxpayer compliance and help close the tax gap. The request also would also provide the IRS with a much-needed increase in funding for business systems modernization to continue upgrading its aging IT systems.
The President’s budget requests $15.3 billion for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to secure U.S. borders and ports of entry and effectively manage irregular migration along the Southwest border, including through $309 million in modern border security technology. It also requests additional funding to combat forced labor, including funding for 300 additional positions including 50 CBPOs. We will continue to work with Congress to provide additional funding for more CBP Officers, Agriculture Specialists and trade operations new hires that are needed to meet the hiring goals in their workload staffing models.
The Bureau of Fiscal Service would also see an increase in funding for FY 2023 under the President’s request. The agency would be provided with more than $372 million, an increase of $16.5 million over the current FY 2022 level. This additional funding will support Fiscal Service’s central role in government-wide financial operations.
The budget would provide the Food & Drug Administration with its largest ever budget, with $6.8 billion in total resources. The NTEU-represented Securities & Exchange Commission has a proposed budget of $2.149 billion that would result in 280 additional full-time equivalents (FTEs) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) would have an increase of 93 FTEs if it receives the $116 million in funding that is proposed through a new user fee. NTEU has long supported a user fee for CFTC and will push for its adoption. However, we will also remind Congress that if it fails to enact the fee, CFTC must have the funding expected from the fee from general appropriations.
The budget includes a request for $4.2535 billion and 703 new FTEs for the Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) and supports NTEU’s position that PTO be allowed to retain all of its fee revenue.
President Biden has also proposed that part of the funding for the NTEU-represented Indian Health Service (IHS) become mandatory spending. NTEU supports this administration proposal that will add stability and dependability to IHS funding. We also support the increased funding in the budget for the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Energy and many other NTEU-represented agencies.
As Congress begins working on government funding matters for the next fiscal year, NTEU will fight to ensure that employees receive a fair pay increase and that agencies receive the resources necessary to meet their missions.
Anthony M. Reardon