President Donald Trump has told Congress he is canceling a pay raise that most civilian federal employees were due to receive in January, citing budgetary constraints.
Trump informed House and Senate leaders in a letter sent Thursday.
Trump says in the letter that locality pay increases would cost $25 billion, on top of a 2.1 percent across-the-board increase for most civilian government employees.
He cites the costs and says: "We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases." Trump says he's determined that for 2019 "both across-the-board pay increases and locality pay increases will be set at zero."
Representative Derek Kilmer, who represents Washington state’s 6th Congressional District, where the federal government is the largest employer, said in a released statement:
“I disagree with the notion that the main problem with government is the people working in government. That’s wrong — and it disrespects the important work done throughout our country by federal workers.
The President's choice today takes money out of the pockets of tens of thousands of people in our region. It robs the folks at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard working hard so the U.S. Navy can defend us. It rips off the people managing the submarines homeported up the road at Subbase Bangor, the park rangers guiding millions of visitors through Olympic National Park this holiday weekend, the nurses and doctors at the VA medical centers serving the large group of veterans who live in our region, and the Forest Service workers who literally grow local jobs by prepping timber harvests in our federal forests.
I will fight back as hard as I can against this decision which is bad for our economy and terrible for the people who serve our country.”