Fulfilling his long-proposed pledge to shrink the federal government, President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday voiding a planned pay increase for federal workers in 2019.
The order blocks a 2.1 percent blanket pay raise that was slated to go in effect in January, which the president called “inappropriate” burden on the federal budget when addressing House and Senate leaders in an August letter, citing his statutory authority to adjust payout of “national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare.”
Trump insisted the pay freeze would not hinder the federal government’s ability to attract qualified workers.
“We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases,” the President wrote of the pay raises, which in total would cost the taxpayers $25 billion.
“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,” he added.
Additionally, the freeze, which Trump has been advocating for since February, nixes “locality pay increase,” a yearly adjustment of paychecks base on the region of the country where workers are posted.
U.S. troops will not be affected by the move, and will still receive a 2.6% pay increase next year that was passed as part of the massive spending bill Trump signed in August.
The pay freeze comes amid a partial government shutdown that has resulted in 420,000 government workers who are considered “essential” employees working without pay and the furlough of 380,000 federal employees. The shutdown primarily affects the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, the Interior, State, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development.
Lawmakers are uncertain when they will be able to resolve the shutdown after Trump demanded an agreement that would accommodate a $5-billion wall along the U.S. – Mexico border.