On February 9, President Barack Obama released his budgetary proposal for fiscal year 2017, calling for a $4.1 trillion budget. Within his last budget of his presidency, President Obama called for a larger federal workforce, greater spending on cybersecurity, and an increase in federal pay. In his budget message, Obama commented, “As we make these investments to meet our great challenges, we are also working to build a 21st century government that delivers for the American people.” As the federal government responds to increased demands from the American public and the largest threat to cybersecurity, it is necessary to have a federal budget that can meet these needs. The Federal Managers Association (FMA) issued a press release on the plan, stating that while it does not fully address issues hindering the federal workforce, it takes steps in the right direction in regards to federal pay and IT hiring.
FMA National President Patricia Niehaus commented, “The call for a 1.6 percent raise is welcome, but I continue to call upon the nation's elected officials to return to the formulaic process employed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine annual salary adjustment recommendations, and properly recognize the federal workforce as it strives to create a more efficient and effective federal government.” She added, “In order to create a sustainable federal workforce, it is necessary that pay reflect the value of the work being done and the demands placed on employees. I have stated repeatedly that it is time that the federal government returns to being a model employer. Additionally, this is a vital recruitment tool that allows the federal government to attract the brightest and best.” To this end, the President called for $37 million to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for IT and cybersecurity and $4.9 million to the OPM Inspector General for cybersecurity oversight. Furthermore, the budget calls for the Department of Homeland Security to receive $37 million to expand cybersecurity programs within federal agencies. The Office of Management and Budget further estimated that through the President’s plan, the federal workforce will grow by 1.5 percent with some agencies seeing larger growth than others. The Department of Veterans Affairs could see an increase of 4.8 percent, while the Departments of Education and Labor could see more than a 4.5 percent increase, and Treasury could see a 4 percent increase.
Responding to the President’s budget, House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) commented, “Like all of his previous proposals, it increases spending by trillions of dollars above what we already cannot afford and takes more money out of the pockets of hardworking taxpayers with no plan to address the key drivers of our debt. Under the president’s vision, what we spend on interest on our national debt by 2022 will surpass that which we spend to protect and defend our nation.” He added, “This is the same approach we have seen time and time again from this administration that continues to lead America down the same path we have been on for the past seven years: one with fewer jobs, lower wages, less opportunity and less security.”