Amid a partial government shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of federal employees working without pay or furloughed, President Donald Trump issued an executive order that freezes their pay for next year. The move follows through on an earlier promise to nix a planned 2.1 percent pay raise that was to take effect in January. The freeze doesn’t affect military personnel, who are scheduled to receive a 2.6 percent raise in 2019.
“This is just pouring salt into the wound,” Tony Reardon, who is president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement. “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.”
In a letter to congressional leaders in August, Trump characterized the planned pay raises as “inappropriate,” saying that “Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.” Despite Trump’s statement though there is still a possibility federal workers will get a pay raise next year, notes the Washington Post. Sen. Chris Van Hollen has said that the issue of pay raises “should be the first order of business” when the new Congress convenes on Jan. 3.
As the shutdown entered an eighth day Saturday, Trump made it clear he is no closer to reaching a deal with Democrats. “I am in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come on over and make a deal on Border Security,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning.