There is no gentle way to put this, about up to two million federal workers just got the shaft. They were promised raises of 2.1% effective in January 2019, but Donald Trump just decided to cancel the pay increases citing the “nation’s fiscal situation” There won’t even be a cost of living increase. In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Trump wrote:
“Specifically, I have determined that for 2019, both across‑the‑board pay increases and locality pay increases will be set at zero.”
Here’s where things get more strange. Trump added the following paragraph:
“Title 5, United States Code, authorizes me to implement alternative plans for pay adjustments for civilian Federal employees covered by the General Schedule and certain other pay systems if, because of ‘national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare,’ I view the increases that would otherwise take effect as inappropriate.”
What emergency or serious economic condition is he referring too? It seems odd since Trump often touts how well the economy is doing under his watch. Just a month ago he said, “Once again, we are the economic envy of the entire world… We’ve accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportions.”
This head-scratching move has many wondering what happened to the money allocated for these workers.
The GOP tax bill gave millions to the rich and big corporations, adding $1.5 billion to the deficit, so Trump is going to take promised money out of the pockets of 2 million middle class federal workers to help pay for it. https://t.co/aKzP4LzJbm
— Helen Kennedy (@HelenKennedy) August 30, 2018
Approximate number of civilian govt. workers/voters in the following states will not get raises in 2019, because of @realDonaldTrump's decision today: #FL: 79K#GA: 72K#IA: 9K #KY: 23K#MICH: 26K#MO: 34K#NC: 44K#OH: 50K#PA: 60K#TX: 114K#VA: 136K#WV: 15K#WISC: 15K
— West Wing Reports (@WestWingReport) August 30, 2018
To the hard-working federal employees Trump just screwed by cutting pay — the folks who run our parks, protect our communities, & serve our veterans: YOU MATTER. If billionaires can get tax cuts, you should get a COLA. You work hard for America & that should add up to something.
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) August 30, 2018
All hope isn’t lost though. The Washington Post points out this isn’t a done deal yet. It’s now in the hands of the Republican-controlled Congress:
“The final decision will be made as part of the congressional budget process — if House members and senators agree on a pay hike before the end of the year, Trump’s letter will be moot and a raise will take place anyway.”