Trump Announces Pay Increase Freeze for Federal Employees

Trump Announces Pay Increase Freeze for Federal Employees

Under the law, the 2.1 percent raise takes effect automatically unless the president and Congress act to change it. Congress is now debating a proposal for a slightly lower, 1.9 percent across-the-board raise to be included in a government funding bill that would require Trump's signature to keep most government functions operating past September.

In a notice to Congress Thursday, Trump cited "serious economic conditions" in cutting pay to civilian workers.

In his letter, Trump wrote the locality increase in 2019 would average 25.70% and cost the federal government $25 billion.

"It is outrageous and hypocritical that after spending billions of taxpayer dollars on unnecessary tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations ... that suddenly the White House finds that there is zero money left to pay a minimal cost-of living adjustment", he added.

The Senate Appropriations Committee emphatically beat back an amendment to strike the pay raise during a markup in June, rejecting the proposal in a 2-29 vote and keeping the raise.

While Trump has yet to propose reducing spending on big-ticket items such as defense or entitlements, he is trying to trim the decicit by changing how federal employees are paid.

Trump claims Sessions 'doesn't understand what is happening' in Justice Dept.
Sessions told reporters at the time, "In the end, I have followed the right procedure just as I promised the committee I would". He said the only reason Sessions was given a job was because of his loyalty to the campaign.

The Senate has approved a 1.9 percent pay hike as part of a spending bill for federal agencies, while the House included no raise.

President Trump wrote Thursday that federal agency budgets could not sustain a planned pay increase for most civilian employees.

In a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Trump said he is zeroing out both across-the-board pay increases as well as locality pay raises that are based on where federal employees live, which were set to go into effect in January 2019.

The federal budget deficit has grown 16 percent this fiscal year, the result of a combination of Trump-supported tax cuts and military spending, as well as increases in mandatory spending programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The plan also called for revising policies that make it hard to discipline and fire federal employees. "These alternative pay plan decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well qualified Federal workforce".

In fact, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the budget deficit will surpass $1 trillion for the 2019 fiscal year. States Trump won in 2016 - including Florida, Pennsylvania and OH - also rank high on the list of states where federal employees work. "Across-the-board pay increases and locality pay increases, in particular, have long-term fixed costs, yet fail to address existing pay disparities or target mission critical recruitment and retention goals".

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