Trump Invokes “National Emergency” and “Serious Economic Conditions” to Cut Pay Raises for Government Workers

scissors cutting money

The Scheduled Pay Growth for Civilian Government Workers Will Be Reduced, According to a Letter Written to Speaker Ryan

In a letter written to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), President Donald Trump announced his plan to cut pay growth for civilian government workers, while military pay was untouched.

In the letter, Trump wrote that his authority stems from a time of “national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare,” allowing him to make adjustments to the 2018 pay schedule for federal employees.

The previous plan had earmarked a 1.9% pay bump for workers. Trump will cut that bump to 1.4%. This, coming at a time when workers’ wages across the U.S. have remained stagnant for years, with government workers often some of the hardest hit by a lack of pay growth.

“We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a sustainable fiscal course,” Trump wrote.


“A pay increase of this magnitude is not warranted, and Federal agency budgets could not accommodate such an increase while still maintaining support for key Federal priorities such as those that advance the safety and security of the American people.”

The situation only worsens for those outside of the D.C. area. Government workers not in the capital will receive, on average, a 0.5% increase and Trump will outline his plan in a coming executive order, the letter said.

One area in government that Trump has been and continues to be reluctant to touch is the military. Trump wrote that he will maintain the 2.1% increase for military wages.

“I strongly support our men and women in uniform, who are the greatest fighting force in the world and the guardians of American freedom,” Trump wrote. “As our country continues to recover from serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare, we must work to rebuild our military’s readiness and capabilities.”

The reduction in wage growth will make it even more difficult for government workers to keep up in a country that is continually growing too expensive for many to achieve the American Dream. The near two-percent jump barely accounts for inflation, and with its reduction, those living in the expensive urban areas that see massive housing cost growth year-over-year will only see that American dream drift further away.



Trump to cut pay raises for government workers,” The Hill, August 31, 2017.