Trump proposes freezing federal worker salaries

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Trump said he was axing a 2.1 percent across-the-board raise for most workers as well as locality pay increases averaging 25.7 percent and costing $25 billion.

Cox said federal worker pay and benefits have been cut by more than $200 billion since 2011, and workers are now earning 5 percent less than they did at the start of the decade.

Trump's administration proposed a $143.5 billion cut regarding federal employee pay in May.

Congress has approved legislation to give military service members a 2.6 percent pay raise, the biggest in nine years, but funding must still be approved.

Congress does have the option to override Trump's freeze on federal raises.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who represents many federal workers, blamed what he said was Trump's mismanagement of federal government.

In a notice to Congress Thursday, Trump cited "serious economic conditions" in cutting pay to civilian workers.

J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal workers union, issued a statement urging that Congress "follow the Senate's lead and provide federal employees with a modest pay adjustment in January, which would help prevent workers from falling further behind next year and help federal agencies recruit and retain the high-caliber workforce that the public expects and deserves".

Trump's call for a federal pay freeze was included in his budget proposal for 2019, the Office of Management and Budget said.

The pay raise matter was the latest in a string of moves that reflect an attempt to rein in spending on federal employees. In the same month, Trump signed three consecutive orders that made it easier to fire civilian employees. A federal judge invalidated numerous provisions in those executive orders on Saturday.

Reaction on Thursday from Democrats was swift, particularly those from states adjacent to Washington, where large numbers of federal workers reside.

The Democratic National Committee described Trump's letter as "yet another slap in the face to American workers" by the president, while Sen.

Trump also said federal employees' compensation should be performance-based as opposed to automatic. "I can think of nothing more hypocritical or disingenuous than to turn around and throw hardworking federal employees under the bus on the pretext of fiscal responsibility".

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said Trump didn't have the power to force changes to union contracts because they would violate the collective bargaining rights federal employees have under the law.

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