President Donald Trump said he would freeze the pay of federal workers next year, saying the nation can't afford the 2.1% raises that would have gone into effect without presidential action.
"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", Trump wrote in a letter to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate. And so far, the administration has not threatened to veto the spending bill if it includes a pay raise.
In his letter, Trump wrote the locality increase in 2019 would average 25.70% and cost the federal government $25 billion. The raise came as part of a massive $716 billion defense spending bill that Trump signed earlier this month.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who represents many federal workers, blamed what he said was Trump's mismanagement of federal government.
The canceled raises do not affect members of the military. For federal workers, however, their pay is largely set by education and job position, with automatic increases over time based on tenure. This newfound concern for the fiscal prudence is impossible to credit, given Trump's willingness to create massive deficits and determination to waste money on pet projects like his border wall.
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What the USA and Mexico have agreed to is a "review clause" every six years on an agreement that would be renewed every 16 years. Moreover, Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on imports of Canadian-made vehicles if Ottawa doesn't relent.
In contrast to civilian employees, troops are due for a 2.6 percent pay increase next year.
"Zero. This seems to be how much respect President Trump has for federal workers", he said in a statement. Trump also stated the pay increase would amount to over $25 billion, which he called "inappropriate". "Our public servants have been getting shortchanged for years; including three years of pay freezes under the Obama administration".
In fact, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the budget deficit will surpass $1 trillion for the 2019 fiscal year. "Today's announcement has nothing to do with making government more cost-efficient - it's just the latest attack in the Trump administration's war on federal employees".
As workers across the country head into the Labor Day weekend, Trump cited the "significant" cost of the federal workforce, and called for their pay to be based on performance and created to recruit, retain and reward "high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets". "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".