Trump Announces Pay Increase Freeze for Federal Employees

01 September, 2018, 04:57 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • Federal Employees

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.

The White House 2019 budget plan released in February was the latest attempt to tie federal workers' pay to performance evaluations.

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. The raise came as part of a massive $716 billion defense spending bill that Trump signed earlier this month.

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

The pay increases would cost the federal government at least an addition $25 billion, according to the president.

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said Trump didn't have the power to force changes to union contracts because they would violate the collective bargaining rights federal employees have under the law. Military members are set to receive a 2.6. percent raise in 2019, Federal News Radio reported.

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Congress does have the option to override Trump's freeze on federal raises.

It's not clear how much money the pay freeze would save.

During the Obama administration, federal pay was frozen for three years.

"These alternative pay plan decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well-qualified Federal workforce", Trump's letter adds. Gerald E. Connolly, who said Trump was "feeling cornered and lashing out by cancelling a modest, planned pay increase for our dedicated federal workforce".

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".

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. "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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