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President Donald Trump is canceling pay raises due in January for most civilian federal employees, he informed Congress on Thursday, citing budget constraints.

"We must maintain efforts to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and federal agency budgets can not sustain such increases", Trump said.

Trump's 2019 budget proposal sought to freeze federal pay, but the Senate Appropriations Committee included a pay bump in its spending plans for 2019. However, both the House and Senate have differing spending plans and Trump would ultimately have to sign the bill to put it into action.

The federal budget deficit has grown 16 percent this fiscal year, the result of a combination of Trump-supported tax cuts and military spending, as well as increases in mandatory spending programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Besides an across-the-board pay increase of 2.1 percent scheduled to go into effect in January 2019, Trump noted that locality pay increases taking place in high cost-of-living areas would amount to $25 billion.

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

Hamilton leaves it late to arrive at Monza
Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was a distant fourth, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen fifth and Romain Grosjean of Haas sixth.

In ordering the raises canceled, Trump cited his statutory authority to adjust pay because of "national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare".

Representative Anthony Brown, D-Maryland, said he plans to work reinstate a pay raise for civilian federal workers when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill in September.

Cox said federal worker pay and benefits have been cut by more than $200 billion since 2011. That means the law is adding about $190 billion a year to the deficit. "In light of our Nation's fiscal situation, Federal employee pay must be performance-based, and aligned strategically toward recruiting, retaining, and rewarding high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets", Trump said. Also that month, Trump signed three executive orders that made it easier to fire civilian employees and put new limits on union activity. The administration appeared to be dragging its feet this week on complying with the judge's orders, with some agencies telling managers and union officials that the new policies remained in effect until further notice.

Trump frequently trumpets the military pay raise while listing his administration's accomplishments.

Reaction on Thursday from Democrats was swift, particularly those from states adjacent to Washington, where large numbers of federal workers reside. "Today's announcement has nothing to do with making government more cost-efficient - it's just the latest attack in the Trump administration's war on federal employees".

"Federal employees have had their pay and benefits cut by over $200 billion since 2011, and they are earning almost 5 percent less today than they did at the start of the decade", said J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest union representing federal workers. However, Trump in May proposed cutting total federal employee compensation by $143.5 billion.


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