On Saturday, January 5, two things are set to happen:
1) The government shutdown will hit the two-week mark.
2) Some of the Trump administration’s top officials will see a nice little bump in their federal paychecks.
According to a new report and analysis from the Washington Post, “hundreds” of high placed Trump officials, including cabinet secretaries and even Vice President Mike Pence himself are set to receive a roughly $10,000 annual raise starting tomorrow. Meanwhile, approximately 800,000 rank and file federal employees temporarily out of work thanks to the shutdown are still left wondering when their next paycheck will arrive.
In fact, it’s thanks to the very shutdown that’s temporarily halted so many federal paychecks that these top-tier federal appointees are seeing their salaries increase in the first place. As the Post explained, there’s been a freeze on raises for top federal executives since 2013, and every year since then, that freeze has been legislatively renewed. However, since there hasn’t been a budget deal for nearly two weeks now, that freeze is about to expire. When it does, all the raises that should have happened over the past five years will be retroactively applied moving forward.
Of course, most federal employees—like everyone!—deserve to earn more money. But forking over $10K to people like Mike Pence (net worth: $2 million) or Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross (net worth: $700 million or $2 billion depending on who’s asking) is both deeply irksome and a very bad look for the administration, given that there are literally hundreds of thousands of government workers—many of whom are starting to apply for unemployment benefits—who are going without.
“It is wonderful that the president has decided to lift the pay freeze for top executives and his political appointees: They deserve a pay adjustment, as do all the people who work under them,”American Federation of Government Employees national president J. David Cox Sr. told the Post. “Leadership is about the principle that ‘officers eat last.’ The administration should make sure that the rank and file receive a pay adjustment before their bosses do.”