Trump Proposes Freezing Federal Worker Salaries

Trump Proposes Freezing Federal Worker Salaries

President Donald Trump signaled his intent to rescind a scheduled pay increase for federal workers, informing Congress on Thursday that federal law allowed him to do so in the event of a "national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare".

Trump informed House and Senate leaders in a letter on Thursday.

It would be the first pay freeze for civilian federal workers since 2011 to 2013, when President Barack Obama instituted a three-year pay freeze as the nation recovered from the recession. However, both the House and Senate have differing spending plans and Trump would ultimately have to sign the bill to put it into action.

That measure, along with a new two-year federal budget and tax cuts heralded by Republicans, have led to accusations Trump is ignoring the federal deficit, despite promising he would address it as president.

Under federal law, federal employees get cost-of-living raises every new year - in addition to specific increases in high-cost cities called "locality pay" - unless the president determines those raises would be "inappropriate".

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who represents many federal workers, blamed what he said was Trump's mismanagement of federal government. This month, the Senate voted of 96-2 to approve its version of a spending bill that would fix across-the-board civilian raises next year at 1.9 percent. The letter did not estimate the overall savings, though it said $25 billion would be saved in a related move canceling raises that are based on the workers' location.

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Representative Anthony Brown, D-Maryland, said he plans to work reinstate a pay raise for civilian federal workers when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill in September.

Congress can still choose to give federal employees a raise. The national debt - the accumulation of those budget deficits - has increased almost $1.6 trillion over the past year, to $21.4 trillion.

Trump is not anxious about the effect of freezing federal pay on the government's ability to be successful in "recruiting, retaining and rewarding high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets". 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 proposed provisions from these consecutive orders on Saturday.

"Zero. This seems to be how much respect President Trump has for federal workers", he said in a statement.

Trump's administration proposed a $143.5 billion cut regarding federal employee pay in May. "Instead, the President ballooned the deficit by trillions of dollars with a tax giveaway primarily benefitting [sic] big business and the wealthiest Americans. 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".

Why it does matter: This becomes the latest in a string of battles between Trump and federal employees.

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