Muslim Times(Web Desk) – US President Donald Trump has suddenly demanded from Congress that a promised 2.1 percent raise to federal workers in 2019 be cancelled due the country’s woeful economic situation.
Under federal law, federal employees receive an annual cost-of-living raise in addition to specific increases in high-cost cities called “locality pay”.
“Across-the-board pay increases and locality pay increases, in particular, have long-term fixed costs, yet fail to address existing pay disparities or target mission critical recruitment and retention goals,” Trump wrote in a letter addressed to the Speaker of the House and the president of the Senate on Thursday.
“In light of our Nation’s … serious economic conditions …federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases,” Trump argued.
“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,” he wrote.
In the meantime, Trump’s announcement met with huge opposition — not only among union leaders, but also by lawmaker on the Hill from both sides of the aisles — who accused the business mogul-turned-president of waging a “war” on workers.
“Let’s be clear: The President’s decision to cancel any pay increase for federal employees is not motivated by a sudden onset of fiscal responsibility. Today’s announcement has nothing to do with making government more cost-efficient — it’s just the latest attack in the Trump administration’s war on federal employees,” wrote Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia.
Trump critics argued that President Trump takes from the poor and gives to the rich. “It is outrageous and hypocritical that after spending billions of taxpayer dollars on unnecessary tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations — and as the President boasts about the ‘great’ state of the American economy, that suddenly the White House finds that there is zero money left to pay a minimal cost-of-living adjustment to the patriotic, dedicated public servants,” wrote Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland.
“The folks who run our parks, protect our communities, & serve our veterans: YOU MATTER. If billionaires can get tax cuts, you should get a [cost of living adjustment]. You work hard for America & that should add up to something,” wrote Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-California.
“President Trump is feeling cornered and lashing out by cancelling a modest, planned pay increase for our dedicated federal workforce. His tax bill exploded the deficit, and now he is trying to balance the budget on the backs of federal workers,” wrote Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Virginia.
“We cannot balance the budget on the backs of our federal employees and I will work with my House and Senate colleagues to keep the pay increase,” wrote Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Virginia.
The Trump administration “simply does not respect its own workforce,” stated Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union.
The United States largest union representing federal employees, the American Federation of Government Employees, urged lawmakers to override Trump’s sudden decision and stick to promised raise.
Congress holds the power to give federal employees the raise.