President Donald Trump on Friday issued an executive order which would halt a planned 2.1 percent pay increase for federal government workers, something that is done automatically. Currently, about 800,000 federal employees are on furlough or working without pay because of the partial government shutdown. The only workers who are exempt from the blanket order are members of the military who are scheduled to receive a 2.6 percent pay raise, The Daily Mail reported.
"We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases," Trump said back in August. “In light of our Nation's fiscal situation, Federal employee pay must be performance-based, and aligned strategically toward recruiting, retaining, and rewarding high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets."
But not everyone sees it that way.
"This is just pouring salt into the wound,'"Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents about 100,000 federal workers, said in a statement. "It is shocking that federal employees are taking yet another financial hit. As if missed paychecks and working without pay were not enough, now they have been told that they don’t even deserve a modest pay increase."
The pay increase could be put back on the table next month when the Democrats take control of the House. For all we know, they could include the pay raise in their 2019 fiscal budget, which is currently at a standstill over President Trump's proposed border wall and its funding.
“We fully expect the new Congress to enact the modest 1.9 percent adjustment for all of 2019 which passed the Senate and received substantial bipartisan support in the last Congress,” J. David Cox, American Federation of Government Employees’ president, said in a statement. “There is no economic or budgetary justification for the President’s freeze and lawmakers agree that federal pay must rise not only as a matter of decency, but also in order to help agencies attract and retain the federal workforce that America deserves.”
According to USA Today, a majority of federal workers are employed outside of the nation's capitol. California, Texas, Virginia and Maryland have the highest proportion of federal workers.
The Trump administration last year approved a 1.4 percent increase in pay for federal workers and a 2.4 percent increase in pay for the military, The Hill reported.