His move, supported by House Republicans, comes just months after they passed a $1.4 trillion tax giveaway to corporations and the wealthy, which has failed to create jobs or raise wages.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 31, 2018) — President Trump announced Thursday that he would cancel cost-of-living pay raises for civilian workers across the federal government and freeze their pay, citing the “nation’s fiscal situation.” This happens just months after he and Republicans in Congress rammed through a partisan $1.4 trillion tax cut for big corporations and the wealthiest Americans that is being spent enriching shareholders rather than creating jobs and raising wages as promised.
In a letter to Congress announcing the pay freeze on Thursday, Trump wrote: “We must maintain efforts to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.”
The freeze would deny roughly 1.8 million people a cost-of-living pay increase next year, Politico reports. The Senate has already backed a 1.9% pay raise for civilian federal employees this year, but House Republicans have approved their own spending bill that endorses the White House’s pay freeze. Most civilian workers are slated to receive a 2.1% increase under a years-old government formula.
“The President’s choice today takes money out of the pockets of tens of thousands of people in our region,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-6th) in a statement released Thursday. “It robs the folks at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard working hard so the U.S. Navy can defend us. It rips off the people managing the submarines homeported up the road at Subbase Bangor, the park rangers guiding millions of visitors through Olympic National Park this holiday weekend, the nurses and doctors at the VA medical centers serving the large group of veterans who live in our region, and the Forest Service workers who literally grow local jobs by prepping timber harvests in our federal forests.”
Trump’s move comes a just months after he signed a tax bill that, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, gives the largest benefits to the highest income households and raises the federal debt by $7.2 trillion in this decade and by $20.9 trillion by 2036.
“This is a direct attack on public servants,” responded AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Handing $1.5 trillion to corporations as they ship jobs overseas is fiscally unsustainable, not paying those who serve our country every day.”
Meanwhile, as the American Federation of Government Employees reminds us, Trump and Republicans in Congress promised big pay raises averaging $4,000 for all workers when they passed their huge corporate tax cut.