The Trump administration has frozen pay raises for Vice President Mike Pence, Cabinet members, and select appointees amid the partial government shutdown, the White House announced Friday evening.
Has this happened before?
Mainstream media decried the possible pay hikes but later admitted that House Republicans initiated a freeze on raises for senior-level officials back in 2013. And Congress has since renewed the freeze every year.
The extension of the long-standing freeze on raises was included in bills that were not acted on before the 115th Congress ended, according to published reports.
The raises, had they gone through, would have represented a pay hike about $10,000 a year, starting on Saturday. Pence's salary would have risen from $230,700 to $243,500. Salaries for cabinet secretaries earning $199,700 a year would jumped to $210,700.
During a press conference on Friday President Donald Trump said he "might consider" freezing the raises, the New York Times reported. The news outlet also noted that In March, Republicans tried to end the freeze but Democrats kept it in place.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said the administration was "exploring options to prevent this from being implemented while some federal workers are furloughed" and described the situation as "another unnecessary byproduct of the shutdown."
The Office of Personnel Management reportedly stated that "it would be prudent for agencies to continue to pay these senior political officials at the frozen rate until appropriations legislation is enacted that would clarify the status of the freeze."
About 800,000 federal employees are approaching their third week without pay. Correctional officers, Transportation Security Administration agents, and other federal employees are not being paid because budgets for their departments were not approved prior to the shutdown.
Any end in sight?
Trump and Democratic lawmakers are in a stalemate over how to fund security measures — Trump wants a $5 billion — along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Union leaders for federal workers have accused the president lacking empathy for the federal employees who are struggling now that their paychecks are on hold. The workers have gone without pay since the shutdown began Dec. 22.
Trump has confirmed that he told Congress he could keep the government closed for more than a year, if needed. But he has also said he doesn't expect the shutdown to last long, The Hill reported.