By Ryan Velez
The Hill reports that Donald Trump recently sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan announcing 2018 pay rates for civilian government workers, and the workers in question are not likely to be happy with the pay raise that are a part of said letter.
Trump cited his authority in times of “national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare” to make adjustments to the 2018 pay schedule for federal employees. What this ultimately means is that workers were expected to get an across-the-board pay raise of 1.9% as well as additional 26 percent on average in locality pay, but that figure is based on an outdated formula that presidents have routinely circumvented.
Trump’s changes would make this raise an average 0.5 percent increase in locality pay instead, within the range of recent locality increases. He also is using his authority to lower across-the-board pay raises to 1.4 percent, with an average additional raise of 0.5 percent, depending on what city the worker lives in.
“We must maintain efforts to put our nation on a sustainable fiscal course,” Trump wrote.
“A pay increase of this magnitude is not warranted, and Federal agency budgets could not accommodate such an increase while still maintaining support for key Federal priorities such as those that advance the safety and security of the American people.”
This isn’t the first time a president has intervened to submit alternative pay plans for government workers to avoid larger pay increases that would kick in by default. Obama froze government salaries in place from 2011 to 2013. However, the raise is still lower than what some unions and lawmakers have advocated for.
“[The National Treasury Employees Union] believes this figure is too low especially in light of the fact that federal law calls for a 1.9 percent across-the-board raise and private sector wages are growing at an even faster rate,” Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement. “Add to that, current proposals attacking the federal retirement system would result in a pay cut for federal workers.”
As an added note, members of the military will still be getting the 2.1% pay increase. “I strongly support our men and women in uniform, who are the greatest fighting force in the world and the guardians of American freedom,” Trump wrote. “As our country continues to recover from serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare, we must work to rebuild our military's readiness and capabilities.”