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With Federal Wage Hike, What Are Local Lawmakers Really Up To?

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Local lawmakers are pushing a 3 percent pay hike for federal workers. Are they just buttering up voters?
Local lawmakers are pushing a 3 percent pay hike for federal workers. Are they just buttering up voters?

This week, some lawmakers in the region introduced legislation to give federal workers a boost in pay.

It's no secret why lawmakers from Maryland and Virginia are pushing a plan to bump federal workers' pay by 3.3 percent: Many of their voters are in the federal workforce. Easy enough. But even the president is only asking for a 1 percent hike. So are these local lawmakers just trying to appease their base?

Northern Virginia Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly says not at all. "The fact that the president has included a 1 percent increase doesn't foreclose the possibility of considering something higher and more equitable," he says.

Connolly adds that it's important for lawmakers in the region to keep pressure up now, so that it becomes easier to pass a higher pay raise later. "And the fact that the climate is a hostile climate, at least on the majority side of the House, again, ought not to deter us from trying to lay down that marker in the hopes that people will rally to that principle over some period of time," he says.

The proposal is also sponsored by Democrats Jim Moran of Virginia and Elijah Cummings of Maryland.

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