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Trump Administration Eyes Pay Freeze, Benefit Cuts for Federal Workers

December 28, 2017

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

WASHINGTON—The Trump administration will try to impose a pay freeze on federal employees in fiscal 2019, according to a memo leaked to Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. A Nov. 28 memo from the Office of Management and Budget overruling Department of Homeland Security funding requests stated that “OMB intends to issue a pay freeze for federal civilian employees in 2019” and “Per governmentwide guidance, no civilian pay raise is included in the recommended level for the FY 2019 Budget.” That freeze, if it goes through, may be a prelude to attempts at deeper cuts in federal workers’ pay and benefits. Trump’s labor adviser is James Sherk, formerly a labor-policy specialist with the far-right Heritage Foundation, who in 2010 wrote an article entitled “Who in This Country Has More Than They Deserve? Most Federal Employees.” Last year, he coauthored a Heritage report recommending cuts to federal workers’ pensions, vacation and holidays, and step increases for longevity, and that it should be easier to fire them. “The cuts and pay freezes being considered by this administration are expected,” Steve Lenkart, executive director of the National Federation of Federal Employees, told the Washington Post, “sadly, because this administration has been forthright in its poor opinion of working people and their families.” Read more

December 28, 2017

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