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article imageTrump freezes federal employees salaries for 2019

By Karen Graham     Dec 30, 2018 in Politics
Federal workers are being left out in the cold this holiday season. President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday freezing federal workers’ pay for 2019, following through on a proposal he announced earlier in the year.
Trump continues to politicize the non-partisan relationship we have in Congress, only it is not hurting our lawmakers. However, it is hurting the American public, particularly the members of the federal workforce.
The president's move nixes a 2.1 percent across-the-board pay raise that was set to take effect in January. However, it comes during a partial government shutdown that includes hundreds of thousands of federal employees either furloughed or working without pay because of a political standoff over government funding.
As South Coast Today points out, we are talking about two million federal workers - men and women of every racial background, Democrats, Republicans, and Independent voters - from every state in the Union.
Trump's threat upped the ante in a political row over immigrant that prompted a partial shutdow...
Trump's threat upped the ante in a political row over immigrant that prompted a partial shutdown of the US government
Brendan Smialowski, AFP/File
Sadly, we have a president who delights in belittling any who get in his way, and it appears he has chosen the federal workforce as his latest target.
According to a new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill, 56 percent of survey respondents do not support the president’s proposal to construct a wall along the southern border, compared to 44 percent who do. The survey was conducted from Dec. 24-26, days after the partial government shutdown took effect.
Trump has said that he will not sign a government funding measure unless lawmakers meet his demand for the border wall spending. He has also upped his threat by saying he will close the entire Southern border.
Not enough money for a pay raise?
In August, Trump announced the across-the-board pay freeze, saying the federal government could not afford the cost-of-living pay increase - claiming raises should only be given based on performance. His decision was met with such an outcry that he backed down, promising to study it over the Labor Day weekend.
US President Donald Trump rejected a stopgap spending bill on December 20  2018 because it did not i...
US President Donald Trump rejected a stopgap spending bill on December 20, 2018 because it did not including border wall funding, dramatically raising the likelihood of a partial government shutdown
Brendan Smialowski, AFP
But as Vox’s Emily Stewart noted at the time, the only “studying” he did that weekend was spending time at his golf club and tweeting at Fox News personalities.
In a letter to House and Senate leaders at the time, Trump described the pay raise as "inappropriate," adding “We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases,”
Trump also cited his statutory authority to adjust pay out of “national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare.” It seems he has grasped what it means to throw around "statutory authority" involving almost everything, including tariffs and sending the military to our Southern border.
Trump's executive order also scraps a yearly adjustment of paychecks based on the region of the country where workers are posted, called the “locality pay increase,” that was due to take effect in January. The executive order does not affect the 2.6 percent pay increase for US troops next year. That came about under different funding approved in August.
Freezing cost-of-living pay increases for federal employees still leaves one big unanswered question. Where does Trump think his $5 billion for a border wall is coming from? Surely it's not from those frozen pay raises to federal employees?
More about Trump, Executive order, federal workers pay, locality pay increase, government shutdown
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