WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- As the country heads into the Labor Day holiday weekend, President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he’s canceling pay raises for most federal workers scheduled for next year.
- The president cited the nation’s “serious economic conditions” and the impact that the raises would place on the federal budget.
- Now, unions representing government workers are calling on lawmakers to override Trump’s decision.
President Donald Trump is seeking to cancel planned pay raises for most civilian federal workers that were due to take effect in January. Citing the country’s “serious economic conditions,” Trump said the raises will put a strain on the federal budget.
The wage hike, which includes a 2.1% across-the-board increase, has been planned to help federal salaries keep pace with inflation. Consumer prices have reportedly increased by 2.9% in the 12 months through June.
The raises also account for higher costs of living in cities like San Francisco, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Invoking his authority, Trump notified Congress of the canceled raises through a letter, informing them that if raises push through, it would cost $25 billion.
“We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases,” the president wrote.
“Accordingly, I have determined that it is appropriate to exercise my authority to set alternative across-the-board and locality pay adjustments for 2019.”
Congress has the authority to override the president’s decision that’s why unions representing federal workers called on lawmakers to do so.
The president signed a 2.6 percent raise for troops earlier this month. The law is part of a bigger military spending package.
The federal workers’ average salary varies by location. The average salary for workers in Wyoming is $63,000, while those in Washington, D.C, receive an average of $116,000 annually.
The Federal Salary Council reported in April that the overall salaries of federal workers lag the salaries of similar workers in the private sector by about 32%, according to Fortune.
“The cost of employing the Federal workforce is significant,” Trump said in the letter. “In light of our Nation’s fiscal situation, Federal employee pay must be performance-based, and aligned strategically toward recruiting, retaining, and rewarding high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets.”
The president signed a tax overhaul in December that is expected to expand the U.S. deficit by about $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Trump even often boasted on Twitter about the strength of the U.S. economy.