Trump cancels planned January pay raise for federal workers
Sep 01, 2018, 05:00
This month, the Senate voted of 96-2 to approve its version of a spending bill that would fix across-the-board civilian raises next year at 1.9 percent.
In ordering the raises canceled, Trump cited his statutory authority to adjust pay because of "national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare".
Under federal law, federal employees get cost-of-living raises every new year - in addition to specific increases in high-cost cities called "locality pay" - unless the president determines those raises would be "inappropriate".
Trump said both increases should no longer happen. Trump frequently trumpets the military pay raise while listing his administration's accomplishments.
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.
Trump's 2019 budget proposal sought to freeze federal pay, but the Senate Appropriations Committee included a pay bump in its spending plans for 2019.
Trump did not appear to be concerned that civilian government agencies would struggle to retain workers.
"We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets can not sustain such increases", Trump wrote before announcing that for 2019, "both across-the-board pay increases and locality pay increases will be set at zero".
"Zero. This seems to be how much respect President Trump has for federal workers", wrote Sen. More broadly, the president has signaled his support for moving away from fixed schedule of pay increases and toward performance-based pay. "We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets can not sustain such increases". The plan also called for revising policies that make it hard to discipline and fire federal employees. States Trump won in 2016 - including Florida, Pennsylvania and OH - also rank high on the list of states where federal employees work. "These alternative pay plan decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well qualified Federal workforce".
The administration's July budget update projected a deficit of $890 million for the fiscal year that ends September 30, up from the February estimate of $873 billion. Military personnel, unlike civilian federal employees, are still due for a pay increase valued at 2.6 percent, CNBCreports.
The adjustments described above shall take effect on the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2019.
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