Mike Pence and others get sweetheart pay raises while Trump stiffs federal workers: report

Mike Pence and others get sweetheart pay raises while Trump stiffs federal workers: report
Gage Skidmore

UPDATE: The Washington Post originally reported that the pay raise appeared to be an "intended consequence" of the shutdown. That was later changed to be "unintended consequence," and the story below has been updated to reflect that change.


President Donald Trump prudently stayed in Washington, D.C., over the holidays while he forced the federal government to shut down, knowing that the optics of his planned trip to Mar-a-Lago would have been terrible. He deserved no praise for remaining at the White House during a crisis he created, of course, but the decision forestalled what would have surely been a massive backlash.

Trump has not displayed the same level of foresight on another, closely-related matter. The Washington Post reported Friday that, while the government is shut down and after Trump blocked a 2.1 percent pay increase for federal workers,  Vice President Mike Pence — along with a large slate of other people who are directly appointed by the president — are getting sweetheart pay raises.

The Post explained:

The pay raises for cabinet secretaries, deputy secretaries, top administrators and even Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to go into effect beginning Jan. 5 without legislation to stop them, according to documents issued by the Office of Personnel Management and experts in federal pay.

The raises appear to be an unintended consequence of the shutdown: When lawmakers failed to pass bills on Dec. 21 to fund multiple federal agencies, they allowed an existing pay freeze to lapse. Congress enacted a law capping pay for top federal executives in 2013 and renewed it each year. The raises will occur because that cap will expire without legislative action by Saturday, allowing raises that have accumulated over those years but never took effect to kick in, starting with paychecks issued next week.

The pay raises will come to about a $10,000  year, the Post reported.

Pence himself will now reportedly be making $243,500 a year, up from $230,700.

As AlterNet's Alex Henderson argued, the GOP's behavior during this shutdown reveals its deep-seated class bigotry. But to take this to another level — denying working people any paycheck at all while dishing out whopping raises to the people at the top — isn't just unfair, it seems patently ridiculous, like an over-the-top satire of what a plutocratic party would do.

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