Federal agencies told to hold off pay raises

Erika Holt
January 7, 2019

The Office of Personnel Management announced it is freezing planned pay raises for Vice President Mike Pence and other senior administration officials due to the partial government shutdown.

"Late Friday, in response to a report on the raises in The Washington Post, Weichert issued a memo directing federal agencies to stand by and not move forward with the increases until Congress acts "to provide clarity on the matter".

The pending raises were a outcome of the budget impasse and government shutdown: When the budget deal lapsed, so did an existing pay freeze for senior federal officials.

The raises had been blocked by a cap on federal executive pay enacted by Congress in 2013 and renewed each subsequent year, according to The Washington Post. Pence's salary will increase from $230,700 to $243,500.

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The reason the pay raises are even an issue is because Congress didn't renew a long-time pay freeze for high-ranking officials and political appointees.

While the United States military and other major agencies are still fully funded, the impasse has left 800,000 government workers from other departments furloughed or working without pay.

An administration official later said Pence's staff believes he has to accept the raise during the shutdown and pay taxes on it, but will reimburse the Treasury or donate the pay to charity. The impasse centers around more than $5 billion Trump wants to fund a physical wall along the U.S. -Mexico border. Democrats now hold the House while Republicans extended their majority in the Senate from 51-49 to 53-47, making a bipartisan agreement imperative. It does not affect a 2.6% pay increase for U.S. troops that was passed as part of the massive defense spending bill Trump signed in August. Trump and congressional leaders met again Friday to try to hash out a resolution, but emerged no closer to a deal.

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. We reaffirmed @POTUS' commitment to secure the border, build the wall, keep Americans safe & reopen gov't. "It's a much more risky problem", Trump told reporters, mentioning gangs and terrorists coming through the border.

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