WASHINGTON, DC- Congressman Cedric Richmond (LA-02) issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s decision to cancel pay raises for federal employees:
“President Trump’s recent decision to freeze pay raises for hardworking federal employees is an affront to our workforce and a danger for our economy. This is a clear attack on millions of patriotic civil servants throughout the country. Federal employees make up the bedrock of the American economy, and in my district serve our veterans, protect us in the wake of natural disasters, deliver our mail, process federal payroll, and preserve our environment. This administration’s latest attempt to sabotage our community is yet another unfortunate blow to middle income Americans. I will work diligently with my colleagues to ensure federal employee wages are protected.”
Last week, President Donald Trump told lawmakers he wants to scrap a pay raise for civilian federal workers, saying the nation’s budget couldn’t support it.
In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Trump described the pay increase as “inappropriate.”
“We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases,” the President wrote.
An across-the-board 2.1% pay increase for federal workers was slated to take effect in January. In addition, a yearly adjustment of paychecks based on the region of the country where a worker is posted — the “locality pay increase” — was due to take effect.
Trump said both increases should no longer happen.
Congress has an opportunity to effectively overrule the President’s edict if lawmakers pass a spending bill that includes a federal pay raise. The Senate passed a bill this summer that included a 1.9% raise for federal workers. The House’s version did not address federal pay. Senate and House negotiators will negotiate a final measure in the coming weeks.
In his letter, Trump stressed a pay freeze would not affect the federal government’s ability to attract qualified workers, and wrote the government would focus on “recruiting, retaining and rewarding high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets.”
The implications of Trump’s decision on the locality pay increase were not immediately clear. Workers based in more expensive parts of the country are paid higher salaries to compensate for the higher cost of living.
Pay for military personnel will not be affected by Trump’s decree; instead, US troops are due a 2.6% pay increase next year. Trump frequently trumpets the military pay raise while listing his administration’s accomplishments. The raise came as part of a massive $716 billion defense spending bill that Trump signed earlier this month.