WASHINGTON — The Trump administration introduced late Friday evening that it could freeze a pay increase for Vice President Mike Pence, members of the cupboard and different high-ranking political appointees in gentle of the partial authorities shutdown.
The high-level officers have been positioned to obtain a increase of about $10,000 a 12 months — which was to enter impact on Saturday — as 800,000 federal workers have been getting into their third week with out pay.
The will increase have been the results of Congress’s failure to resume a longstanding freeze on raises for high-ranking officers and political appointees. An extension of the freeze was included within the spending payments funding a number of authorities companies that weren’t acted on earlier than the expiration on Thursday of the 115th Congress.
However on Friday evening, the Workplace of Personnel Administration introduced that “it could be prudent for companies to proceed to pay these senior political officers on the frozen fee till appropriations laws is enacted that will make clear the standing of the freeze.”
The choice got here throughout an sudden optics difficulty for the Trump administration: Whereas correctional officers, Transportation Safety Administration brokers and different federal workers work with out pay throughout the federal government shutdown, Mr. Pence’s annual wage would have jumped to $243,500 from $230,700. Cupboard secretaries who have been paid $199,700 a 12 months would have seen their annual pay rise to $210,700. It additionally got here after The Washington Publish reported the potential raises.
The administration appeared to pay attention to the notion downside and was making an attempt to keep away from it. Requested at his information convention on Friday if he would freeze the raises through the shutdown, President Trump mentioned he “may contemplate that.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White Home press secretary, later defined that the administration was “exploring choices to stop this from being carried out whereas some federal staff are furloughed” and described the scenario as “one other pointless byproduct of the shutdown” that she mentioned could possibly be remedied by Congress.
The steering issued Friday evening by Margaret Weichert, the appearing director of the Workplace of Personnel Administration, said that the 2018 pay freeze for sure political officers could be “usually relevant in making use of the pay freeze in 2019.” Ms. Weichert mentioned in her memo that her division would put ahead new steering if and when Congress took motion on the difficulty.
Democratic lawmakers, who’re at an deadlock with Mr. Trump over his vow to not reopen the federal government with out funding for a wall alongside the southwest border, earlier on Friday put strain on the Trump administration, criticizing the potential raises.
Consultant David E. Value of North Carolina described growing the salaries of high-ranking officers throughout a shutdown as “astounding and the peak of hypocrisy.” Consultant Nita M. Lowey of New York mentioned that the invoice handed by the Home on Thursday to reopen the federal government would additionally block what she described as “lavish raises.”
That invoice, nevertheless, is considered as a nonstarter within the Republican-controlled Senate. The Authorities Accountability Workplace had additionally obtained questions on whether or not the raises may transfer ahead, however responded that the difficulty was, to this point, an unresolved authorized query, based on an individual acquainted with the dialog.
The wage will increase would have come because the leaders of among the unions representing federal staff criticized Mr. Trump for what they are saying is an absence of empathy for the monetary issues going through federal workers who haven’t been paid through the shutdown. At his information convention on Friday, Mr. Trump confirmed that he had advised congressional leaders that he was keen to maintain the federal government closed, doubtlessly, “for a really lengthy time frame, months and even years.”
The freeze on raises for senior-level appointees was a measure that was initiated by Home Republicans in 2013, through the Obama administration, as a part of a monetary companies invoice. Underneath the availability, high-ranking officers would have their pay charges frozen, although the federal schedule of pay raises would enhance. That legislation has been renewed yearly since.
Final March, Republicans tried to finish the freeze, however Democrats succeeded of their efforts to maintain it.