It’s one of the few federal job sectors where employee wages can keep up with civilian counterparts, and it comes at a time when few other organizations can come to an agreement over wages and spending.

On Tuesday, media reports swelled after it came to light that the U.S. Army plans to cut 40,000 soldiers over the next two years and 17,000 Army civilians due to budget constraints. Last month, Senate Democrats warned of another government shutdown over disagreements with Republicans over whether spending should go to entitlement programs or defense after the House passed a version of the National Defense Authorization Act that would give U.S. troops a 2.3% pay increase to keep up with the civilian sector. Things aren’t looking any better for employees on Capitol Hill, where even a mention of lawmakers or their staff getting a pay raise after a seven-year freeze sends the public into a frenzy.

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