On Thursday, President Donald Trump told lawmakers that he wanted to cancel the scheduled pay raise for civilian federal employees, stating that the country’s budget couldn’t support the expense. In a letter to Congressional leaders, Trump said the pay increase was “inappropriate” and that “federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.”
The across-the-board pay increase was previously set at 2.1 percent for federal employees, according to a report by CNN. In addition, a “locality pay increase” was also scheduled to take effect in 2019.
Trump said both pay raises should be canceled.
“We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases,” said the President’s letter to House and Senate leaders.
“I have determined that for 2019, both across the board pay increases and locality pay increases will be set at zero,” Trump added.
Congress has the ability to overrule Trump’s decision by passing a spending bill that includes the raises.
Over the summer, the Senate passed a bill that included a 1.9 percent pay raise for federal workers. The House version did not address increases to federal employee pay.
In his letter, Trump emphasized that freezing civilian federal worker pay would not impact the government’s ability to secure qualified employees.
He stated that the federal government would concentrate on “recruiting, retaining and rewarding high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets.”
Trump wrote that the locality pay increases alone would cost the federal government $25 billion, averaging around 25 percent.
Pay for military personnel would not be impacted by Trump’s decree, allowing US troops to receive the 2.6 percent increase scheduled for next year. Those raises were included in the $716 billion defense spending bill which was signed by Trump earlier this month.