President Donald Trump wants to cancel the 2.1 percent salary increase for federal employees that are scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, according to the letter that the White House sent to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate.
The letter indicates that the U.S. President has the right to implement changes on pay adjustments for civilian federal employees, citing that it would be inappropriate given the current economic status of the country. He said that federal agency budgets cannot sustain the increases to be applied.
Apart from the 2.1 percent pay hike, the across-the-board locality pay increases that were also scheduled for next year are likewise included in the pay adjustments that Trump wants to block.
Though the President has released this letter, Congress could still overrule this by passing the bill that would still include the salary increases. The ruling would take effect after the President has signed it. The Senate has already passed its version of the bill, with 1.9 percent increase for federal employees, however, Congress did not accept it.
The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act
The letter also states that the adjustment pays for federal employees would cost the government $25 billion, which could be ‘inappropriate,’ according to the letter.
Ironically, before the blockage of this pay increase, President Trump has signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that would increase the salaries of the troops by 2.6 percent. Their basic allowance for subsistence and housing would also increase 3.4 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.
Not the only critical move toward civilian federal employees
In May, President Trump also signed three executive orders: 1) reconstruction of federal bureaucracy that would allow easier termination for federal employees that have issues with performance and misconduct; 2) better negotiation of union contracts by departments and agencies; and 3) restriction of time that federal workers can spend on union-related concerns, per The Boston Globe.
The Democrats, together with the unions, think that this move to block the pay increase is a form of attack on civil workers, per The New York Times.
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