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Feds Make Decision on Their $10K Raises

Personnel office suggests holding off for now
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 5, 2019 11:15 AM CST
President Donald Trump with Vice President Mike Pence speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington after a meeting with Congressional leaders on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – Federal agencies have been directed to hold off enacting pay raises for top administration officials during a government shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without pay, the AP reports. The guidance was issued Friday in a memo from Margaret Weichert, the acting director of the Office of Personnel Management. The raises were the result of a pay freeze for top federal officials, including the vice president and cabinet secretaries, that was on the verge of expiring because of the shutdown. In the memo, Weichert writes, "In the current absence of Congressional guidance," OPM "believes it would be prudent for agencies to continue to pay these senior political officials at the frozen rate until appropriations legislation is enacted that would clarify the status of the freeze."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had said earlier Friday that the administration was "aware of the issue" and "exploring options to prevent this from being implemented while some federal workers are furloughed." Trump had also told reporters at a press conference that he "might consider" asking cabinet secretaries and other top officials to forgo the raises. Vice President Mike Pence committed to doing so. The raises, which were first reported by the Washington Post, appear to be an unintended consequence of a shutdown that is affecting hundreds of thousands of federal employees, forcing many to work without pay. The Post reported that "scores" of Trump appointees were slated to get annual pay raises of roughly $10,000. (Meanwhile, TSA screeners are calling in sick.)

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