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Ron Sachs/CNP/AdMedia/NewscomCiting the budget deficit, President Donald Trump said today he is freezing scheduled pay raises for civilian employees of the federal government.
In a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Trump said he is zeroing out both across-the-board pay increases as well as locality pay raises that are based on where federal employees live, which were set to go into effect in January 2019.
In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Trump described the pay increase as "inappropriate". The House version of the bill did not include such an increase, and sought reductions to spending on federal pension plans. He cited Title 5 of the U.S. Code, which lets the president freeze civilian federal employee pay increases due to "national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare".
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Maryland Democrat representing many federal workers living in the D.C. area, quickly criticized the move. Trump has touted the military pay bump, which was authorized by a giant $716 billion defense bill he signed earlier this month. The federal government ran a deficit of $77 billion last month, a 79 percent increase over July 2017. 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.
Pay for military personnel will not be affected by Trump's decree; instead, USA troops are due a 2.6% pay increase next year.
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".
"Zero. This seems to be how much respect President Trump has for federal workers", he said in a statement.
For 2019, the administration is projecting the deficit will top $1 trillion and stay above that level for the next three years.
He said the 1.9 percent pay increase 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".
As noted in my Budget for Fiscal Year 2019, the cost of employing the Federal workforce is significant. "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 criticalrecruitment and retention goals".
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