Federal Workers Get Pay Raise; D.C. Schoolchildren Get Opportunities
Federal workers will receive a 3.5 percent pay hike, and students in Washington, D.C.'s public schools will continue to have their opportunities expanded on the K-12 and university levels thanks to funding secured by Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., in the omnibus domestic spending legislation that Congress sent the president today.
Congress fully funded the D.C. School Choice program that Rep. Davis authored, sponsored and shepherded to passage in 2003. The program, which helps disadvantaged children receive extra services or attend private schools, partially at taxpayer expense, boasts a satisfaction rate of more than 90 percent and a lengthy waiting list. It is the only federally funded program that promotes educational choice for the disadvantaged. The program received $14.8 million, which matches the president's request.
The D.C. Tuition Access Program, which pays out-of-state fees on behalf of D.C. high school graduates going on to college, received $33 million in the omnibus legislation. The program provided $30.5 million to more than 4,700 students in 2005-2006. College enrollment of DCPS graduates has doubled since the program's inception in 1999 - to 60 percent. Moreover, 38 percent of those are the first in their family to attend college.
"There is no better way to ensure a sound, safe, healthy community than to expand educational opportunities," Davis said. "These programs say D.C. is a good place to get an education, a good place to raise a family, a place where the playing field is level and hope is on the rise."
Rep. Davis has been a consistent advocate of "pay parity" - the idea that federal civilian workers receive the same annual pay increases as members of the military. President Bush requested a 3 percent hike, and Congress upped it to 3.5 percent.
"The federal government competes with top private-sector employers for talent, and it's important that it have the tools to compete effectively," Davis said. "I am pleased Congress has acknowledged the important role federal employees play in protecting the homeland, supporting our troops abroad, fighting crime, battling disease and otherwise providing services to the American people."
Rep. Davis also secured major funding for local transportation and infrastructure projects in Northern Virginia: