Adding insult to injury, President Donald Trump, whose government shutdown has left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without pay over the holidays, has now ordered a freeze of federal workers’ salaries in 2019.
The freeze, issued by executive decree on Friday, will block a 2.1% pay increase for non-military federal workers set to take effect in January, CNN reported.
Trump has threatened for months to issue the order, saying a raise would be “inappropriate” and would strain the federal budget, according to the news network.
“We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases,” Trump wrote in a letter to lawmakers last August.
This is an interesting argument, considering Republican tax cuts passed last year for the über-wealthy contributed to the largest deficit in years, predicted to hit $981 billion in 2019 and top $1 trillion every year thereafter, according to CNBC.
But sure, it’s about fiscal responsibility.
Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen earlier said that raises for federal workers should be a priority when the new Congress convenes on Jan. 3, The Washington Post reported. However, Trump would have to sign it into law.
The Post noted that federal employees have received 1-2% raises annually since 2013, when a three-year salary freeze ended.
As one might imagine, federal workers are now doubly irked as the new year approaches under a Trump administration.
“This is just pouring salt into the wound,” National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon told the newspaper. “It is shocking that federal employees are taking yet another financial hit. As if missed paychecks and working without pay were not enough, now they have been told that they don’t even deserve a modest pay increase.”
Members of the military still will receive a 2.6% raise, although that is much lower than the 10% Trump told troops this week that he had personally secured for them, which turned out to be another lie.
“You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years,” he said on Wednesday, speaking to troops about raises. “And we got you a big one. I got you a big one.”
He did not mention budgetary concerns about the fake number.