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House of Representatives passes measure to reverse federal employee salary freeze

A flag flies outside the U.S. Capitol Building. (STOCK PHOTO)

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday giving federal workers a 2.6 percent pay increase, nullifying President Donald Trump’s administration’s December 2018 decision to freeze federal employee salary rates.

This pay increase will put executive branch employees at an equal level with military members in terms of pay raises.

The measure reverses President Trump’s executive order signed during the government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history that froze approximately 800,000 government workers from receiving pay checks for 35 days.

“The president’s decision to freeze pay for federal workers amidst the government shutdown was just salt in the wound,” said Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama. “I met with some of our hardworking TSA agents in Birmingham and Montgomery who were struggling to pay their mortgages and rent, and amidst that financial hardship, the president announced that they did not deserve a moderate pay increase. That’s just not right.”

A generational gap in government workers due to low wages and long hiring processes may eventually lead the country to a crisis point. Almost one third of the federal workforce will be eligible to retire in five years, and there has been an inability to recruit and retain younger workers.

Since 2011, deficit reduction has largely been in part to federal employees, who contributed nearly $200 billion to reduction. In addition, their jobs remain essential to the societal structure of modern America.

“These workers help make sure our families stay safe, inspecting the airplanes our families fly on and investigating terrorist threats,” Sewell said. “Federal employees, like those who work at the federal prison in Aliceville, depend on these reasonable pay increases to make ends meet.”

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