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Trump cancels planned January pay increase for civilian federal workers

Trump cancels federal employee pay increases, citing financial concerns

Under current law, federal employees were set to receive a 2.1 percent across-the-board pay increase as well as location-based increases beginning on January 1, 2019, but Trump said he is eliminating those raises and wants performance-based pay implemented for federal civilian workers.

Trump addressed the decision to forgo the pay increase in a letter to House and Senate leaders on Thursday, saying, "We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets can not sustain such increases".

Mr. Trump informed House and Senate leaders in a letter sent Thursday. Federal News Radio reports that a spending plan approved by the Senate includes a 1.9 percent pay raise for federal employees while the House's own version of the bill does not include such measures.

He said that locality pay increases would cost 25 billion dollars (£19 billion), on top of a 2.1% across-the-board increase for most civilian government employees. This comes as no surprise as Trump recently signed a $716 billion defense bill earlier this month. The Senate passed a bill this summer that included a 1.9% raise for federal workers.

Trump's administration proposed a $143.5 billion cut regarding federal employee pay in May. For federal workers, however, their pay is largely set by education and job position, with automatic increases over time based on tenure. States Trump won in 2016 - including Florida, Pennsylvania and OH - also rank high on the list of states where federal employees work.

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

Pay for military personnel will not be affected by Trump's decree; instead, United States troops are due a 2.6% pay increase next year. "Our public servants have been getting shortchanged for years; including three years of pay freezes under the Obama administration".

The politics of the pay freeze could be dicey.

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 created to recruit, retain and reward "high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets". "These alternative pay plan decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well qualified Federal workforce".

That measure, along with a new two-year federal budget and tax cuts heralded by Republicans, have led to accusations Trump is ignoring the federal deficit, despite promising he would address it as president.

Instead of giving across-the-board increases, which he says don't address pay disparities or accomplish mission or retention goals, he wants to move to a merit-based system that rewards employees for their performance.