Senior Trump administration officials get raises during government shutdown as hundreds of thousands of federal employees remain without paychecks

  • Hundreds of senior Trump appointees are set to receive annual salary increases of $US10,000 amid the third government shutdown of the Trump presidency.
  • The pay raise is expected to kick in on January 5, 2019.
  • According to the Washington Post, the raises seem to be an intended consequence of the shutdown.

The government shutdown is going strong, and now there’s a group of Washington politicians who might be benefiting from it: Senior Trump appointees who are now set to receive $US10,000 raises.

The Washington Post reported that the pay raise seems to be an intended consequence of the shutdown, benefiting hundreds Trump appointees from deputy secretaries to Vice President Mike Pence, whose salary will jump from $US230,700 to $US243,500. According to the Post, by failing to pass funding bills on December 21, the day before the shutdown, lawmakers allowed an existing pay freeze to lapse.

The pay freeze, enacted in 2013, used to be renewed every year and capped pay for top federal executives. The cap will expire without legislative action by Saturday, allowing raises that have accumulated since 2013 to hit paychecks starting next week, according to documents issued by the Office of Personnel Management and experts in federal pay interviewed by the Post.

The news comes as nearly 800,000 federal employees are either not working or not being paid for their labour during the government shutdown, which has now lasted 14 days.

Read more:
Several House Republicans broke with Trump and voted with Democrats to pass 2 bills that would end the government shutdown

“I suspect the president isn’t aware of the disparity – that political appointees will get a pay raise and no one else will,” John Palguta, former career executive in the federal government for human resources, told the Post. “It’s going to be seen as terribly unfair.”

The Post reported that the pay freeze’s expiration was discussed during a conference call Monday between officials from the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management. Some officials, including OPM director Margaret Weichert expressed worry about the public perception of the raises.

“It was definitely a ‘this is not going to look good’ situation,'” one official said, according to the Post.

The Post reported that the raises could cost taxpayers $US300 million over ten years.

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