"We must maintain efforts to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and federal agency budgets can not sustain such increases", Trump said.
However, in the budget plan he released earlier this year, setting spending priorities for the coming year, Trump indicated he would seek a freeze on federal pay. The House version of the bill did not include such an increase, and sought reductions to spending on federal pension plans. The budget deficit adds up to $684 billion though the first 10 months of the 2018 fiscal year, up 21 percent from the same point last year, MarketWatch reports.
Trump also canceled "locality" pay increases - adjustments based on where an employee lives and separate from the across-the-board increase scheduled for 2019- that he said would average 25.7 percent and cost $25 billion.
Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who represents many federal workers, blamed what he said was Trump's mismanagement of federal government. The Senate already cleared a 1.9 percent pay raise for civilian employees for next year.
President Trump goes after federal raises, but how much is $25 billion really?
The move drew a quick response from D.C. -area members and is nearly certain to draw howls from the Senate, which included a 1.9 percent pay raise in its Financial Services spending bill.
"In light of our nation's fiscal situation, federal employee pay must be performance-based, and aligned strategically toward recruiting, retaining, and rewarding high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets", Trump wrote.
Trump frequently trumpets the military pay raise while listing his administration's accomplishments. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the budget deficit will surpass $1 trillion for the 2019 fiscal year.
Cox said federal worker pay and benefits have been cut by more than $200 billion since 2011. Also that month, Trump signed three executive orders that made it easier to fire civilian employees and put new limits on union activity. A federal judge invalidated numerous proposed provisions from these consecutive orders on Saturday. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, in a statement.
As workers across the country head into the Labor Day weekend, Trump cited the "significant" cost of the federal workforce, and called for their pay to be based on performance and created to recruit, retain and reward "high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets". "Instead, the President ballooned the deficit by trillions of dollars with a tax giveaway primarily benefitting [sic] big business and the wealthiest Americans".
The state with the largest number of federal workers is California, followed by Virginia, the District of Columbia and Texas.
Why it does matter: This becomes the latest in a string of battles between Trump and federal employees.