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Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate on Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Salaries

January 05, 1987

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

As required by Section 225 of the Federal Salary Act of 1967, Public Law 90-206, (2 U.S.C. 351 et seq.), the latest Quadrennial Commission on Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Salaries ("Quad Commission") has submitted to me recommendations on salaries for Senators, Representatives, Federal judges, Cabinet officers, and other agency heads, and certain other officials in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

The statute requires that, in the budget next submitted after receipt of the report of the Commission, I set forth recommendations for adjustment of these salaries. Pursuant to section 225(i), as amended by section 135 of Public Law 99-190, these recommendations will be effective unless Congress disapproves the recommendations by a joint resolution within 30 days following the transmittal of my budget.

As referred to in my Budget Message, I am recommending increases in executive level pay for offices and positions within the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government. The Quad Commission's report, submitted to me on December 15th, 1986, documented both the substantial erosion in the real level of Federal executive pay which has occurred since 1969 and the recruitment and retention problems that have resulted, especially for the Federal judiciary. The Commission found that Federal executives and legislators have experienced a decline of over 40 percent in real income since 1969. The Quad Commission is to be commended for its diligent and conscientious effort to address the complicated and complex problems associated with Federal pay levels.

Every one of the Quad Commissions that has met over the past 18 years concluded that a pay increase for key Federal officials was necessary. Each Commission found that pay for senior government officials fell far behind that of their counterparts in the private sector. They also surmised that we cannot afford a Government composed primarily of those wealthy enough to serve. Unfortunately, the last major Quad Commission pay adjustment was in 1977—a decade ago.

In considering the Quad Commission's recommendations, I recognize that we are under a mandate to reduce the Federal deficit and hold the costs of government to an absolute minimum. In this environment, I do not believe that we can overcome the erosion of real income since 1969 of these senior government officials in one step and thus do not believe it would be appropriate to fully implement the Quad Commission's recommendations at this time.

Accordingly, I have decided to propose a pay increase, but have cut substantially the recommendations made by the Quad Commissioners in their report to me last month. This increase is but the first step in addressing the loss of real income documented by the Quad Commission. In addition to this pay raise, I anticipate submitting another salary recommendation prior to leaving office—in response to the recommendations of the next Quad Commission, which will be appointed and will make its recommendations in 1988. While I cannot pre-judge those recommendations, assuming continued progress toward eliminating the deficit and favorable economic conditions, I would expect to recommend at that time another step toward overcoming that erosion of real income.

Moreover, I have decided to establish a Career Manager Pay Commission to review and report to me by next August on appropriate pay scales for our elite corps of career Government managers—those technically not included in the Quad Commission's mandate. The pay increases I am now proposing to Congress, together with responses to the recommendations of the new Career Manager Pay Commission and the next Quad Commission, are intended to constitute a significant advancement toward placing Government compensation on a fairer and more comparable footing.

Accordingly, pursuant to subparagraphs (A), (B), (c), (D), and (E) of subsection (f) of section 225(h) of Public Law 90-206 (81 Stat. 644):

For the Vice President of the United States-------------------- $115,000

For offices and positions under the Executive Schedule

in subchapter II of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, as follows:

Positions at level I --------------------------------------------- 99,500

Positions at level II-------------------------------------------- 89,500

Positions at level III-------------------------------------------- 82,500

Positions at level IV------------------------------------------- 77,500

Positions at level V-------------------------------------------- 72,500

For the Board of Governors, United States Postal Service----- 10,000

For Speaker of the House of Representatives------------------ 115,000

For the President Pro Tempore of the Senate,

majority leader and minority leader of the Senate, and

majority leader and minority leader of the House of Representatives---- 99,500

For Senators, Members of the House of

Representatives, Delegates to the House of Representatives,

and the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico --------------------- 89,500

For other officers and positions in the legislative branch as follows:

Comptroller General of the United States---------------------- 89,500

Deputy Comptroller General of the United States, Librarian of

Congress, and Architect of the Capitol -------------------------------- 82,500

Public Printer, General Counsel of the General

Accounting Office, Deputy Librarian of Congress, and

Assistant Architect of the Capitol-------------------------------------- 77,500

Deputy Public Printer------------------------------------------ 72,500

For Justices, judges, and other personnel in the judicial branch

as follows:

Chief Justice of the United States------------------------------ 115,000

Associate Justices of the Supreme Court----------------------- 110,000


Circuit Court of Appeals--------------------------------------- 95,000

Court of Military Appeals-------------------------------------- 95,000

U.S. District Courts------------------------------------------- 89,500

Court of International Trade----------------------------------- 89,500

Tax Court of the United States--------------------------------- 89,500

U.S. Claims Court--------------------------------------------- 82,500

Special Trial Judges of the Tax Court-------------------------- 72,500

Bankruptcy Judges-------------------------------------------- 72,500

Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts-------- 89,500

Deputy Director of the Administrative Office of the

U.S. Courts--------------------------------------------------- 72,500

U.S. Magistrates (full-time) (maximum)------------------------ 72,500

U.S. Magistrates (part-time) (maximum------------------------ 36,200



Note: Identical letters were sent to Jim Wright, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and George Bush, President of the Senate.

Ronald Reagan, Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate on Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Salaries Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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