Trump freezes federal worker pay, citing 'serious economic conditions'

Federal Employees

"I have determined that for 2019, both across the board pay increases and locality pay increases will be set at zero", Donald wrote in a letter addressed to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

Scrapping the raises will save more than $25 billion, Trump said.

That measure, along with increased spending under a new two-year federal budget and tax cuts enacted at the end of last year, have led to accusations Trump is ignoring the federal deficit, despite promising he would address it as president.

"I disagree with the notion that the main problem with government is the people working in government".

"His tax bill exploded the deficit, and now he is trying to balance the budget on the backs of federal workers", Connolly said.

Trump cited the "significant" cost of employing federal workers as justification for denying the pay increases, and called for federal worker pay to be based on performance and structured toward recruiting, retaining and rewarding "high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets". The president's tax and spending reforms are slated to add more than $1 trillion to the deficit over ten years, according to government figures.

"Federal employees deserve the full measure of pay comparability provided by the law, and a 1.9 percent increase is the minimum that Congress should consider", he said.

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For 2019, the administration is projecting the deficit will once again top $1 trillion and stay at that level for the next three years.

In a notice to Congress Thursday, Trump cited "serious economic conditions" in cutting pay to civilian workers. More broadly, the president has signaled his support for moving away from fixed schedule of pay increases and toward performance-based pay.

"We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets can not sustain such increases", he said. In addition, a yearly adjustment of paychecks based on the region of the country where a worker is posted - the "locality pay increase" - was due to take effect.

Trump said the pay freeze "will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well-qualified Federal workforce".

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.

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said Trump didn't have the power to force changes to union contracts because they would violate the collective bargaining rights federal employees have under the law.

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