Democrats are quick to criticize the Trump administration for any and every aspect of the government shutdown. They've been taking jabs at the White House, claiming Trump administration officials will receive a pay raise while some federal workers aren't being paid at all. Trump put an end to the rumors on Friday night when he froze pay for Vice President Mike Trump, members of the cabinet and other high-ranking political appointees. The raises were supposed to go into effect on Saturday, with some officials seeing a raise of roughly $10,000 a year, the New York Times reported.
The reason the pay raises are even an issue is because Congress didn't renew a long-time pay freeze for high-ranking officials and political appointees. The renewals were part of spending bills will failed to pass Congress.
According to the Office of Personnel Management, “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.”
There seems to be some legality issues though. It remains unclear if the administration is able to stop the freezes from going into effect or if that power must be left solely up to Congress.
From the Washington Post:
Cabinet secretaries would be entitled to a jump in annual salary from $199,700 to $210,700. Deputy secretaries would be entitled to a raise from $179,700 to $189,600. Others affected are under secretaries, deputy directors and other top administrators.
Pence’s pay is scheduled to rise from $230,700 to $243,500. He told reporters Friday afternoon he would turn down the raise. An administration official later said Pence’s staff believes he has to accept the raise during the shutdown and pay taxes on it, but will reimburse the Treasury or donate the pay to charity.
It was unclear whether the White House had the authority to stop the increases.
At least Democrats can't blame President Trump for White House officials getting pay raises while 800,000 federal employees go without pay.