In a notice to Congress Thursday, Trump cited "serious economic conditions" in cutting pay to civilian workers.
In doing away with the 2.1 percent across-the-board pay increase that was scheduled to take effect in January, Trump said he was working "put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course". The president last year signed a package of tax cuts that is forecast to expand the deficit by about $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
Instead of giving across-the-board increases, which he says don't address pay disparities or accomplish mission or retention goals, he wants to move to a merit-based system that rewards employees for their performance. Under the complex federal pay law, in that case such a message must be issued by the end of August to prevent a much larger raise from taking effect automatically should no decision be made by the end of the year.
Congress has an opportunity to effectively overrule the President's edict if lawmakers pass a spending bill that includes a federal pay raise.
The Senate has approved a 1.9 percent pay hike as part of a spending bill for federal agencies, while the House included no raise.
30 that he will invoke his emergency authority to freeze pay for civilian federal workers next year, citing strained federal budgets and the need to link workers' pay to their performance.
"We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets can not sustain such increases", said Trump.
The Democratic National Committee described Trump's letter as "yet another slap in the face to American workers" by the president, while Sen.
Pay for military personnel will not be affected by Trump's decree; instead, United States troops are due a 2.6% pay increase next year. The plan also called for revising policies that make it hard to discipline and fire federal employees. The national debt - the accumulation of those budget deficits - has increased almost $1.6 trillion over the past year, to $21.4 trillion.
"We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets can not sustain such increases", he said.
"I have determined that for 2019, both across the board pay increases and locality pay increases will be set at zero", he wrote.
"These alternative pay plan decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well-qualified Federal workforce", he added.
"As noted in my budget for fiscal year 2019, the cost of employing the federal workforce is significant", he wrote.
Trump is right to point out the scary fiscal situation.