Trump Proposes Freezing Federal Worker Salaries

Federal Employees

Donald Trump Nixes Scheduled Pay Raises for Civilian Federal Employees Chip Somodevilla Getty Images 30 Aug 2018

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. While the president has railed against the Washington "swamp", less than 20 percent of the nation's almost 2 million civilian full-time federal employees live in the D.C. metropolitan area, according to the Office of Personnel Management.

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 federal budget deficit has grown 16 percent this fiscal year, the result of a combination of Trump-supported tax cuts and military spending, as well as increases in mandatory spending programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Congress can override the president's pay freeze through legislation.

Beyer's office also noted that the congressman "represents the largest number of federal employees of any Member of the House of Representatives".

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".

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President Trump wrote Thursday that federal agency budgets could not sustain a planned pay increase for most civilian employees.

But Trump's pay freeze comes even as he touts a booming economy.

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. In the same month, Trump signed three consecutive orders that made it easier to fire civilian employees.

The pay raise matter was the latest in a string of moves that reflect an attempt to rein in spending on federal employees. A judge struck down most of those provisions last week. Federal worker unions pledged to fight these reforms. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, in a statement. The president last year signed a package of tax cuts that is forecast to expand the deficit by about $1.5 trillion over 10 years. "I can think of nothing more hypocritical or disingenuous than to turn around and throw hardworking federal employees under the bus on the pretext of fiscal responsibility". The plan also called for revising policies that make it hard to discipline and fire federal employees.

The state with the largest number of federal workers is California, followed by Virginia, the District of Columbia and Texas. 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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