Trump cancels planned January pay increase for civilian federal workers

01 September, 2018, 05:01 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Trump nixes federal pay raise | TheHill

He said that locality pay increases would cost 25 billion dollars (£19 billion), on top of a 2.1% across-the-board increase for most civilian government employees.

Washington has 75,525 people working for the federal government as of mid-2017, according to Governing. However, in the budget plan he released earlier this year, setting spending priorities for the coming year, Trump indicated he would seek a freeze on federal pay.

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.

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.

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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. 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 a notice to Congress Thursday, Trump cited "serious economic conditions" in cutting pay to civilian workers.

The president also pointed to the need to make federal pay "performance-based, and aligned strategically toward recruiting, retaining, and rewarding high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets".

The president made the announcement in a letter to the Senate and House.

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Instead of giving across-the-board increases, which he says don't address pay disparities or accomplish mission or retention goals, he wants to move to a merit-based system that rewards employees for their performance.

"These numbers are very, very sustainable - this isn't a one-time shot", he said last month after figures showed the U.S. economy grew at a 4.1% annual rate in the second quarter of the year.

A federal judge overturned numerous provisions last week, and the administration says it will comply with the order. Federal worker unions pledged to fight these reforms.

"Trump has delivered yet another slap in the face to American workers", said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. This proposal included substantial cuts to retirement funds.

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Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, wrote: "Let's be clear: The President's decision to cancel any pay increase for federal employees is not motivated by a sudden onset of fiscal responsibility". A veto of a spending bill could lead to a federal government shutdown. 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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