Trump Remembers Budget Deficit, Announces Federal Pay Freeze - Hit & Run

Alicia Cross
September 1, 2018

In doing away with the 2.1 percent across-the-board pay increase that was scheduled to take effect in January, Trump said he was working "put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course". 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.

As noted in my Budget for Fiscal Year 2019, the cost of employing the Federal workforce is significant.

The salary freeze won't affect military personnel, who will still get a 2.6 percent pay bump next year.

Congress does have the option to override Trump's freeze on federal raises.

Under the law, the 2.1 percent raise takes effect automatically unless the president and Congress act to change it. Congress is now debating a proposal for a slightly lower, 1.9 percent across-the-board raise to be included in a government funding bill that would require Trump's signature to keep most government functions operating past September.

No one will believe his dishonest justification of a 'national emergency or serious economic conditions, ' which is contradicted by Trump's own commentary painting a rosy picture of the economy.

It would be the first pay freeze for civilian federal workers since 2011 to 2013, when President Barack Obama instituted a three-year pay freeze as the nation recovered from the recession.

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

In a letter to congressional leaders, the president wrote that locality pay increases would cost $25 billion. Trump signed executive orders in May that made it easier to fire federal employees and placed limits on public-sector unions.

A federal judge overturned numerous provisions last week, and the administration says it will comply with the order.

The pay raise matter was the latest in a string of moves that reflect an attempt to rein in spending on federal employees.

"Trump has delivered yet another slap in the face to American workers", said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, in a statement. The president last year signed a package of tax cuts that is forecast to add about $1.5 trillion to federal deficits over 10 years. The plan also called for revising policies that make it hard to discipline and fire federal employees. "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".

While the Washington area contains the largest concentration of federal workers, only 1-in-6 civilian employees of the government live in the region.

Trump is right to point out the scary fiscal situation.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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