Trump Remembers Budget Deficit, Announces Federal Pay Freeze - Hit & Run

Trump nixes federal pay raise | TheHill

President Donald Trump on Thursday announced plans to cancel a scheduled pay raise for civilian federal workers, saying the nation's budget could not sustain the increases.

J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal workers union, issued a statement urging that Congress "follow the Senate's lead and provide federal employees with a modest pay adjustment in January, which 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".

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 funding bill that would require Trump's signature to keep most government functions operating past September.

Trump, who has been critical of automatic pay increases, said in a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan that federal workers' pay "must be performance-based, and aligned strategically toward recruiting, retaining, and rewarding high-performing federal employees and those with critical skill sets".

"These alternative pay plan decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well-qualified Federal workforce", he added.

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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.

The president said he's determined that for 2019 "both across-the-board pay increases and locality pay increases will be set at zero". In the same month, Trump signed three consecutive orders that made it easier to fire civilian employees. A judge struck down most of those provisions last week.

Congress could effectively override Trump's decision by including a pay raise in a spending bill, as long as the president signed the measure into law.

"Trump has delivered yet another slap in the face to American workers", said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. Military personnel, unlike civilian federal employees, are still due for a pay increase valued at 2.6 percent, CNBC reports. Mark Warner, D-Va., called it "the latest attack in the Trump Administration's war on federal employees". 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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