Donald Trump Scraps Federal Employees' Planned Pay Raise, Calls It 'Inappropriate'

Sep 03, 2018, 07:03
Donald Trump Scraps Federal Employees' Planned Pay Raise, Calls It 'Inappropriate'

President Donald Trump informed Congress on Thursday that he is canceling pay raises due in January for most civilian federal employees, citing budget constraints.

But in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday, Trump wrote, "We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets can not sustain such increases".

"How about we start with scaling back and paying for the tax cuts and spending bill, which together will add $400 billion to next year's deficit, alone", wrote Marc Goldwein of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Trump says in the letter that locality pay increases would cost $25 billion, on top of a 2.1 percent across-the-board increase for most civilian government employees. Workers based in more expensive parts of the country are paid higher salaries to compensate for the higher cost of living. Federal workers have been hit with the negative news while troops are experiencing the opposite since they will get a 2.6 per cent increase next year.

Federal unions also pushed back against the pay freeze, and presidents of both the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union urged Congress to uphold the pay raise. And so far, the administration has not threatened to veto the spending bill if it includes a pay raise.

However, it notes that because of changes in law over the past year, the economy is expected to grow faster than it had projected last June, causing the CBO to decrease its estimate for the cumulative deficit by $1 trillion over the next decade.

"In light of our nation's fiscal situation, federal employee pay must be performance-based, and aligned strategically toward recruiting, retaining, and rewarding high-performing federal employees and those with critical skill sets", the letter reads.

Trump's call for a federal pay freeze was included in his budget proposal for 2019, the Office of Management and Budget said.

"These numbers are very, very sustainable - this isn't a one-time shot", he said last month after figures showed the U.S. economy grew at a 4.1% annual rate in the second quarter of the year. Trump signed executive orders in May that made it easier to fire federal employees and placed limits on public-sector unions. A federal judge invalidated numerous provisions in those executive orders on Saturday.

"Zero. This seems to be how much respect President Trump has for federal workers", he said in a statement. "I can think of nothing more hypocritical or disingenuous than to turn around and throw hardworking federal employees under the bus on the pretext of fiscal responsibility".

The state with the largest number of federal workers is California, followed by Virginia, the District of Columbia and Texas. However, Trump in May proposed cutting total federal employee compensation by $143.5 billion.

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