Trump freezes federal worker pay, citing 'serious economic conditions'

Andrew Cummings
September 3, 2018

Most federal civilian employees won't be getting a pay raise in 2019 following a declaration from President Donald Trump.

"We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets can not sustain such increases", Trump said in a letter informing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) of the pay freeze.

While the president cited the effect of civilian raises on the deficit, administration-backed tax cuts and spending hikes are set to add more than $1 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, a fact not lost on critics of the pay freeze. Trump also stated the pay increase would amount to over $25 billion, which he called "inappropriate".

The American Federation of Government Employees, a union for federal workers, is now calling on the House to pass a similar measure.

Trump's administration proposed a $143.5 billion cut regarding federal employee pay in May.


Trump frequently trumpets the military pay raise while listing his administration's accomplishments.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) pointed out the Senate passed this pay raise by a 96 to 2 margin, and noted the Senate "has a long history of supporting the federal work force by providing competitive pay, which attracts and retains talented women and men to" federal service.

"Trump has delivered yet another slap in the face to American workers", said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.

Trump said the pay raises would cost the federal government $25 billion, and canceling the raises will "put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course".

Congress can still choose to give federal employees a raise.


"His tax bill exploded the deficit, and now he is trying to balance the budget on the backs of federal workers", the Virginia Democrat said.

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.

I am transmitting an alternative plan for pay adjustments for civilian Federal employees covered by the General Schedule and certain other pay systems in January 2019.

30 that to save taxpayers money pay increases for federal employees will not go into effect as they were slated to in January 2019. We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets can not sustain such increases. "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", Trump said in his letter to Congress Thursday.

He said the 1.9 percent pay increase would "help prevent workers from falling further behind next year and help federal agencies recruit and retain the high-caliber workforce that the public expects and deserves". He cited the need to put the nation "on a fiscally sustainable course".


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