Trump cancels federal employee pay increases, citing financial concerns

Trump cancels federal employee pay increases, citing financial concerns

President Donald Trump has told Congress he is cancelling a pay raise that most civilian federal employees were due to receive in January, citing budgetary constraints.

In the letter, sent to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), Trump said the government could not sustain the scheduled increases.

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.

"We can not balance the budget on the backs of our federal employees and I will work with my House and Senate colleagues to keep the pay increase in our appropriations measures that we vote on in September", she continued.

Federal employee groups, such as the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, have said that they intend to advocate for Congress to pass a version of government appropriations that includes the explicit pay increase for employees.

Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Maryland Democrat representing many federal workers living in the D.C. area, quickly criticized the move.

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

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"Federal employees deserve the full measure of pay comparability provided by the law, and a 1.9 percent increase is the minimum that Congress should consider", he said. 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.

The pay cuts do not apply to the military who will get a 2.6 percent pay raise - the biggest pay raise for the troops in nine years.

Congress does have the option to override Trump's freeze on federal raises. Officials did not immediately say whether the pay freeze would also apply to White House staffers.

"Accordingly, I have determined that it is appropriate to exercise my authority to set alternative across-the-board and locality pay adjustments for 2019".

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.

Trump said the pay freeze "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. "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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