Agen­cies told to de­lay top pay raises

The Beaufort Gazette (Sunday) - - News - BY JILL COLVIN

Fed­eral agen­cies have been di­rected to hold off en­act­ing pay raises for top ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials dur­ing a gov­ern­ment shut­down that has left hun­dreds of thou­sands of fed­eral work­ers with­out pay.

The guid­ance was is­sued Fri­day in a memo from Mar­garet We­ichert, the act­ing direc­tor of the Of­fice of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment.

The raises were the re­sult of a pay freeze for top fed­eral of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing the vice pres­i­dent and cab­i­net sec­re­taries, that was on the verge of ex­pir­ing be­cause of the shut­down.

In the memo, We­ichert writes that, “In the cur­rent ab­sence of Con­gres­sional guid­ance,” OPM “be­lieves it would be pru­dent for agen­cies to con­tinue to pay these se­nior po­lit­i­cal of­fi­cials at the frozen rate un­til ap­pro­pri­a­tions leg­is­la­tion is en­acted that would clar­ify the sta­tus of the freeze.”

White House Press Sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders had said ear­lier Fri­day that the ad­min­is­tra­tion was “aware of the is­sue” and “ex­plor­ing op­tions to pre­vent this from be­ing im­ple­mented while some fed­eral work­ers are fur­loughed.”

Trump had also told re­porters at a press con­fer­ence that he “might con­sider” ask­ing cab­i­net sec- re­taries and other top of­fi­cials to forgo the raises. Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence com­mit­ted to do­ing so.

The raises, which were first re­ported by The Wash­ing­ton Post, ap­pear to be an un­in­tended con­se­quence of a shut­down that is af­fect­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of fed­eral em­ploy­ees, forc­ing many to work with­out pay. Trump and con­gres­sional lead­ers met again Fri­day to try to hash out a res­o­lu­tion, but emerged no closer to a deal. Trump is de­mand­ing bil­lions of dol­lars for his long-promised wall along the south­ern bor­der.

San­ders, in her state­ment, called the raises “an­other un­nec­es­sary byprod­uct of the shut­down” and put the onus on Con­gress, say­ing it “can eas­ily take care of this by fund­ing the gov­ern­ment and se­cur­ing our bor­ders.”

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