President Trump cancels pay raise due federal workers in January

President Donald Trump told lawmakers on Thursday he wants to scrap a pay raise for civilian federal workers, saying the nation's budget couldn't support it.

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".

The president cited his authorities under Title 5, United States Code to implement pay adjustments in response to national emergencies and serious economic conditions. Separately, the Senate backed a 1.9 percent pay raise for federal employees.

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. Trump says he's determined that for 2019 "both across-the-board pay increases and locality pay increases will be set at zero".

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".

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

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Trump put the cost of the raises associated with high-cost areas at $25 billion. A federal judge invalidated numerous proposed provisions from these consecutive orders on Saturday.

Congress can override the president's pay freeze through legislation. 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. Military personnel, unlike civilian federal employees, are still due for a pay increase valued at 2.6 percent, CNBC reports.

Trump also said federal employees' compensation should be performance-based as opposed to automatic.

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".

Trump is right to point out the scary fiscal situation.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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