WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees is echoing bipartisan calls from members of the U.S. House to overturn President Trump’s plan to freeze wages for more than 2 million federal employees next year.
In separate letters sent Friday to President Trump and leaders of the Senate and House, lawmakers from both parties urged passage of a minimum 1.9 percent pay adjustment for federal employees in 2019.
“We should not abandon our federal workers but rather stand by the 1.9 percent federal pay adjustment that is already included in the bipartisan and Senate-passed Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2019,” 159 Democratic members of Congress wrote in a letter to Senate and House leaders that was spearheaded by Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland.
In a separate letter to President Trump spearheaded by Rep. Scott Taylor of Virginia, 23 members of Congress from both political parties urged the president to reconsider cancelling the across-the-board and locality pay increases scheduled to take effect in January.
“While we applaud your efforts to be fiscally responsible, these scheduled pay raises are overdue for our hardworking federal employees and provide incentives to recruit and retain a strong federal workforce,” the lawmakers wrote.
Absent action from Congress, federal workers would be denied any pay adjustment in January under an alternative pay plan President Trump submitted to Congress on Aug. 30.
“It is plainly wrong to tell millions of our fellow Americans that we can afford lavish tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans but not what amounts to a cost-of-living adjustment for the civil servants who keep the government working,” the Raskin letter states.
Both letters cite many of the ways that federal employees serve the American people daily, from protecting the homeland and securing our borders to processing Social Security checks and promoting public health.
“Needless to say, it would be a mistake to refuse our federal civilian employees this well-deserved pay increase. We must show our appreciation for their hard work and that we value their service to our country,” the Taylor letter states.
AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. thanked the lawmakers for standing up for federal workers and urged the entire Congress and President Trump to heed their call.
“President Trump’s claim that the federal government cannot afford to provide the workforce with a modest pay adjustment next year, after signing a $1.5 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest individuals and corporations, is ridiculous on its face and insulting to every employee who has taken an oath to serve this country,” Cox said.
“Federal employees have endured years of financial uncertainty and strain due to pay and hiring freezes, pension cuts, unpaid furloughs, and government shutdowns. They both need and deserve a raise, and I thank every lawmaker and every citizen who is calling for it.”