Trump can­cels pay raise due to fed­eral workers in Jan­uary

Ripon Bulletin - - Dollars & Sense/nation -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is can­cel­ing pay raises due in Jan­uary for most civil­ian fed­eral em­ploy­ees, he in­formed Congress on Thurs­day, cit­ing bud­get con­straints. But the workers still could see a slightly smaller boost in their pay un­der a pro­posal law­mak­ers are con­sid­er­ing.

Trump said he was nix­ing a 2.1 per­cent across-the-board raise for most workers as well as sep­a­rate lo­cal­ity pay in­creases av­er­ag­ing 25.7 per­cent.

“We must main­tain ef­forts to put our Na­tion on a fis­cally sus­tain­able course, and Fed­eral agency bud­gets can­not sus­tain such in­creases,” Trump said. 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.

As workers across the coun­try head into the La­bor Day week­end, Trump cited the “sig­nif­i­cant” cost of the fed­eral work­force, and called for their pay to be based on per­for­mance and de­signed to re­cruit, re­tain and re­ward “high­per­form­ing Fed­eral em­ploy­ees and those with crit­i­cal skill sets.”

At the same time, Trump planned dur­ing a Fri­day ap­pear­ance in Char­lotte, North Carolina, to direct the La­bor and Trea­sury de­part­ments to is­sue reg­u­la­tions de­signed to make it eas­ier for small busi­nesses to pool re­sources so they can of­fer re­tire­ment sav­ings plans to their workers, ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials told re­porters. Most small busi­nesses say high costs dis­cour­age them from of­fer­ing plans like 401(k)s, the of­fi­cials said.

Democrats crit­i­cized Trump for mov­ing to can­cel the sched­uled pay raise, cit­ing tax cuts he signed into law last De­cem­ber. That law pro­vided steep tax cuts for cor­po­ra­tions and the wealth­i­est Amer­i­cans, and more mod­est re­duc­tions for mid­dle- and low-in­come in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies.

“Trump has de­liv­ered yet an­other slap in the face to Amer­i­can workers,” said Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee Chair­man Tom Perez.

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

Unions rep­re­sent­ing the 2 mil­lion-mem­ber fed­eral work­force urged Congress to pass the 1.9 per­cent pay raise.

“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,” said J. David Cox Sr., na­tional pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of Gov­ern­ment Em­ploy­ees, which rep­re­sents some 700,000 fed­eral workers.

“They have al­ready en­dured years of lit­tle to no in­creases and their pay­checks can­not stretch any fur­ther as ed­u­ca­tion, health care costs, gas and other goods con­tinue to get more ex­pen­sive,” added Tony Reardon, na­tional pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Trea­sury Em­ploy­ees Union.

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