President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday that will stop pay raises for about 1.5 million federal employees in 2019, according to published reports.
What about the timing?
The president's action comes as about 380,000 federal employees are furloughed and 420,000 are working without pay due to the partial government shutdown. The shutdown happened over a budget impasse centered on Trump's demands to fund a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
The president's move cancels a 2.1 percent pay hike for federal workers, along with a yearly adjustment of paychecks based on what region of the country workers are in. That provision, a "locality pay increase" was set to take effect in January.
A 2.6 pay increase for military troops, approved under a massive defense spending bill, will go through as planned, according to published reports.
Was this expected?
In August, Trump told lawmakers he would not approve the 2019 pay hike for federal workers because the federal budget could not support it. He also said he did not believe that a pay freeze would impact the government's ability to attract the best employees.
Lawmakers could still decide to issue a pay raise in 2019 as part of a spending bill that would reopen the government.
On Saturday, Trump bragged about the state of the U.S. economy. He quoted Steve Moore, who co-authored the 2018 book, "Trumponomics," with Arthur Laffer.
"It was indeed a great year for the American Worker," Trump wrote on Twitter. He was referring to Moore describing 2018 as "The Year of the Worker."
2018 is being called “THE YEAR OF THE WORKER" by Steve Moore, co-author of “Trumponomics." It was indeed a great year for the American Worker with the “best job market in 50 years, and the lowest unemployment rate ever for blacks and Hispanics and all workers. Big wage gains."
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2018