Suddenly expressing deep concern for "fiscal sustainability" just months after signing a tax bill that is expected to add $1.9 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years, President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he is canceling pay raises for nearly 1.8 million federal workers because he claims "federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases."
"What an insulting way to mark Labor Day."
—Rep. Barbara LeeThe president's abrupt move—which comes less than a week after a federal court struck down his attempt to undermine federal workers' right to bargain collectively—was met with widespread condemnation by progressive lawmakers and labor activists, who argued that the $25 billion Trump claimed the pay raises would cost is a drop in the bucket compared to the GOP's enormous gifts to the rich.
Trump is scrapping federal employees’ scheduled pay raises, which would have cost $25 billion.
Trump’s tax cuts cost $190 billion annually. https://t.co/Tpc8pqhgWJ
— Eric Umansky (@ericuman) August 30, 2018
"President Trump pushed through a tax scam that gave unprecedented handouts to billionaires and corporations—but believes it's too expensive to pay hardworking federal workers a reasonable wage," wrote Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). "What an insulting way to mark Labor Day."
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) similarly ripped the president's decision to cancel planned pay raises after handing billionaires huge tax breaks as a "slap in the face" to workers.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)—which filed the lawsuit that defeated Trump's anti-union directive last week—noted in a statement that the president's move completely ignores the fact that federal workers "are worse off today financially than they were at the start of the decade. Federal employees have had their pay and benefits cut by over $200 billion since 2011, and they are earning nearly five percent less today than they did at the start of the decade."
— California Labor Federation (@CaliforniaLabor) August 30, 2018
Trump's decision to cancel the modest 2.1 percent pay raises that were set to go into effect in 2019 comes as wages for most workers are either completely stagnant or declining. Meanwhile, corporate profits are soaring to record levels, the stock market is booming, and CEO pay remains sky-high.
Trump’s Spending Priorities:
Trips to Mar-a-Lago
Golf outings every week
Guns for Teachers
$1.5 trillion F-35 fighter jet
Giant military spending increase
Paying federal workers
— jordan (@JordanUhl) August 30, 2018
— People For Bernie (@People4Bernie) August 30, 2018
According to West Wing Reports, 80 percent of the workers affected by the pay freeze live outside of Washington, D.C., and many live in red and swing states:
Approximate number of civilian govt. workers/voters in the following states will not get raises in 2019, because of @realDonaldTrump's decision today: #FL: 79K#GA: 72K#IA: 9K #KY: 23K#MICH: 26K#MO: 34K#NC: 44K#OH: 50K#PA: 60K#TX: 114K#VA: 136K#WV: 15K#WISC: 15K
— West Wing Reports (@WestWingReport) August 30, 2018