Published: Mon, January 07, 2019
World News | By Sandy Lane

Pence, Senior Trump Officials to Receive Raises

Pence, Senior Trump Officials to Receive Raises

The guidance issued Friday night by Margaret Weichert, the acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, stated that the 2018 pay freeze for certain political officials would be "generally applicable in applying the pay freeze in 2019".

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 115th Congress had included an extension of the pay freeze in bills funding the government, but those bills failed to pass before that Congress expired and the 116th Congress was seated, according to The New York Times. Salaries for cabinet secretaries earning $199,700 a year would jumped to $210,700.

Vice President Pence is in line for a raise of nearly $13,000 - leaping from $230,700 to $243,500.

Pence's annual salary would have risen from $230,700 to $243,500 while the salaries of hundreds of top officials would have gone up by around $10,000. Correctional officers, Transportation Security Administration agents, and other federal employees are not being paid because budgets for their departments were not approved prior to the shutdown. The pay freeze for senior officials, she said, should be extended.

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The memo came after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration was aware of the issue and was "exploring options to prevent this from being implemented while some federal workers are furloughed".

Indeed, the automatic pay raises have been criticized by Democrats, one of whom was Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), the newly-appointed chair of the House Appropriations Committee. The executive order nixed a 2.1% across-the-board pay raise that was set to take effect in January.

The raises had been set to go into effect on Sunday, after a long-standing pay freeze for senior officials lapsed.

About 800,000 federal employees are approaching their third week without pay.

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The government's Office of Personnel Management did not respond to a request for comment.

US President Donald Trump is demanding $5.6bn to build a wall along the US border with Mexico but Democrats - in control of the House of Representatives - passed a bill this week to reopen the government without providing additional funding for the wall. But that legislation is said to be dead on arrival in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says he will not vote on a bill the president will not sign.

While the U.S. 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.

"Unless extended by new legislation, the pay freeze will end", Weichert wrote to department and agency heads on December 28.

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