Trump threatens pay freeze for federal workers
1 September 2018
In a letter to Congress Thursday, President Trump announced plans to implement an across-the-board pay freeze on the United States federal government’s two million employees starting in January should Congress fail to pass a budget in the New Year. Trump, citing budget concerns, told lawmakers, “We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.”
According to Trump’s letter, “Under current law, locality pay increases averaging 25.70 percent, costing $25 billion, would go into effect in January 2019, in addition to a 2.1 percent across-the-board increase for the base General Schedule.” The cynicism of such remarks is highlighted by the recent $1.5 trillion-worth in tax cuts that Trump awarded to the wealthiest Americans last December. According to the Office of Management and Budget, Trump’s tax windfall has produced a record federal deficit of over $1 trillion less than a year after its passage in Congress.
Congressional Democrats and politicians in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region, which houses over 15 percent of the nation’s federal workforce, denounced the president’s plans.
While the US House of Representatives has passed a budget that ignores federal worker pay, the US Senate has announced a budget that includes a minor pay rise of 1.9 percent. With the House and Senate budget proposals in conflict, any resulting raise will have to be negotiated between the two, with the White House now weighing in on the side of the House.
“President Trump’s plan to freeze wages for these patriotic workers next year ignores the fact that they are worse off today financially than they were…