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Trump Attempts To Freeze Federal Workers 2019 Pay Raise Citing “Economic Emergency”

Despite the fact that Donald Trump was able to find $2.5 trillion for his budget-busting tax cut for the rich, but now suddenly he can’t pay federal employees.

Via CNBC:

President Donald Trump said Thursday that civilian employees of the federal government will not receive raises in 2019. 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.” Scrapping the raises will save more than $25 billion, Trump said.

“I have determined that for 2019, both across the board pay increases and locality pay increases will be set at zero,” the president said in a letter addressed to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-WI, and released by the White House. “These alternative pay plan decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well qualified Federal workforce.”

Under current law, the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act, absent congressional action to establish a pay raise, the annual, across-the-board pay raise for most federal employee is set using a formula tied to the Department of Labor’s Employment Cost Index (ECI), which measures the rise in private sector pay. Under the formula prescribed under this law, the ECI figure minus a half percent, the across-the-board pay increase should be 2.1 percent. However, this same law also provides the President with the ability to set a different pay raise amount, which is required to be transmitted to Congress by September 1st of the preceding calendar year. Today’s action formalizes the White House’s planned January 2019 pay freeze as originally proposed earlier this year in the administration’s FY19 budget request to Congress.

It is still possible that Congress could act to provide a pay raise. As of now, though overall FY19 congressional appropriations work remains incomplete as we near the start of the new FY on October 1st, the Senate has passed an appropriations measure to provide on average a 1.9 percent pay raise amount in January. Specifically, the Senate-passed FY19 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill would provide a 1.4 percent across-the-board raise for employees covered by the General Schedule, and increase the various locality pay rates by 0.5 percent. Language has also been included to ensure that wage grade employees receive the same pay raise that is ultimately provided to employees covered by the General Schedule.

Trump said in his letter to Congress that “I view the increases that would otherwise take effect as inappropriate.”

Over the past 5 years Federal workers pay have only been raised 5%.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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