President Trump on Friday issued an executive order which freezes federal workers’ pay rates for 2019.
Federal employees, already frustrated with Trump over the shutdown, had been expected an increase of 2.1% in January.
“We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases,” wrote Trump in August. “In light of our Nation’s fiscal situation, Federal employee pay must be performance-based, and aligned strategically toward recruiting, retaining, and rewarding high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets.”
Trump’s executive order, which affects about 2.1 million Americans, also cancels an annual paycheck adjustment based on location. The freeze does not affect a 2.6% pay increase for the military, which Trump agreed to when he signed a defense spending bill in August.
Despite a 1.4% increase last year, federal workers make on average 5% less than they did in 2008.
“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 at the start of the decade,” argues J. David Cox, who leads one of many unions representing federal employees.
In all likelihood, House lawmakers will approve a Senate bill including a 1.9% pay increase for federal workers after Democrats take control of the chamber on January 3rd.
In the meantime, over 400,000 federal employees are working without pay and another 380,000 were sent home for the holidays without a job. Congress typically votes to pay federal workers retroactively after shutdowns, but this one is expected to linger on into the new year as Congress struggles with Trump’s demands for border wall funding.
Editor’s note: Not saying they do or don’t deserve a raise, but I have thankful that at least Trump is looking at budgets and how he might cut the deficit.