Trump floats 2.6% pay raise
- By Adam Mazmanian
- Aug 30, 2019
President Donald Trump backed off a proposed pay freeze and endorsed a 2.6% pay raise for federal employees in an Aug. 30 plan sent to Congress.
The plan, due before Sept. 1 under the Federal Employee Pay Comparability Act, also nixes locality pay increases averaging just over 24% due to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
"Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such massive increases in locality pay. Accordingly, I have determined that it is appropriate to exercise my authority to set alternative locality pay adjustments for 2020" as authorized by federal law, the letter states.
The move is something of a surprise. Trump sought a pay freeze and cuts to benefits in his fiscal year 2020 budget submission. The proposal including changing the way pensions are calculated to be based on the average of a retiree's five highest salary years instead of the current "high three" formulation. Trump also sought to combine employee vacation and sick days into a single pool of paid time off.
The House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill in June that includes a 3.1% pay raise for federal employees. The Senate hasn't rolled out its funding bills yet. Congress is expected to take up funding when legislators return after Labor Day. Senior lawmakers have indicated that a short-term continuing resolution might be needed to avoid a government shutdown at the start of fiscal year 2020 on Oct. 1.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called on Trump to deliver a pay raise matching that passed by the House and cautioned that the locality pay cut will have a disparate impact on "hard working federal employees in high-cost regions like the DC-metro area," including Hoyer's own district.
J. David Cox, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said the action by Trump "is a positive step" but that the 2.6% raise "falls short by failing to provide any locality-based pay adjustments, which are essential if the government is ever going to make real progress is closing the wage gap between the federal and private sectors."
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.