Published: Sat, January 05, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Federal agencies directed to hold off on shutdown raises

Federal agencies directed to hold off on shutdown raises

High-ranking members of the Trump administration - including Vice President Mike Pence - are set to receive annual pay raises of about $10,000 this week while hundreds of thousands of federal employees remain without pay because of the government shutdown, a report says.

The cap on salaries for some senior political officials was extended in March 2018, and a memo issued the following month by the Office of Personnel Management said Congress would need to act before January 5, 2019, in order to keep the freeze in place.

Asked at his news conference Friday if he would freeze the raises during the shutdown, President Donald Trump said he "might consider that".

Pence's pay will increase from $230,700 to $243,500, Cabinet secretaries will be entitled to $210,700, up from $199,700, deputy secretaries would be entitled to $189,600, up from $179,700.

Raises that otherwise would have been due to top officials since 2013 will therefore kick in in their next paycheck.

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President Donald Trump prudently stayed in Washington, D.C., over the holidays while he forced the federal government to shut down, knowing that the optics of his planned trip to Mar-a-Lago would have been bad. Rep. Nita Lowey of NY said that the Bill passed by the House on Thursday to reopen the government would also block what she described as "lavish raises".

Meanwhile, almost 800,000 federal employees are in unpaid limbo, about 380,000 of them having been furloughed, as others continue to work without pay.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a vote on the measures passed by the House Thursday night to re-open the government and provide back pay to those affected by the shutdown.

"When lawmakers failed to pass bills on December 21 to fund multiple federal agencies, they allowed an existing pay freeze to lapse", the report explains.

"It is wonderful that the president has made a decision to lift the pay freeze for top executives and his political appointees: They deserve a pay adjustment, as do all the people who work under them", David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 750,000 federal workers, said in an e-mail.

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