Nearly two million federal government employees, including many at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Housing Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and all other federal agencies, were due a pay raise in January, but that won’t happen anymore.

President Donald Trump canceled the 2.1% “across-the-board” pay increases for approximately 1.8 million civilian federal employees (those who are not political appointees) in order to “put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course.”

According to the letter that Trump sent to Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kent., the looming pay increases would cost the government $25 billion.

The move to eliminate federal employees’ pay raises comes on the heels of the Republican-led Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Trump signed into law late last year and was billed as a $1.5 trillion tax cut.

And now, Trump argues that the government does not have enough money to support raises for its employees.

“(T)he cost of employing the Federal workforce is significant,” Trump writes in the letter.

“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 continues. “Across-the-board pay increases and locality pay increases, in particular, have long-term fixed costs, yet fail to address existing pay disparities or target mission critical recruitment and retention goals.”

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