Pence, Senior Trump Officials to Receive Raises

Vice President Mike Pence with acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney in December

Vice President Mike Pence with acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney in December

Federal agencies were told to hold off on enacting pay increases on January 4, in a memo from Margaret Weichert, the acting director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

"When lawmakers failed to pass bills on December 21 to fund multiple federal agencies, they allowed an existing pay freeze to lapse", the report explains.

The increases were the result of Congress' failure to renew a long-standing freeze on raises for high-ranking officials and political appointees.

Cabinet secretaries making $199,700 per year will see their pay jump to $210,700 annually; deputy secretaries will see an increase from $179,700 to $189,600.

Pence's pay was scheduled get a $13,500 raise to $243,500. Others affected are under secretaries, deputy directors and other top administrators.

Nevertheless, when freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) said of Trump Thursday night that her plan is to "impeach the motherf--er", the president took offense.

According to the the Washington Post, which first reported on the raises on Friday, officials are anxious about the appearance of granting raises to high-paid officials while lower-level federal workers struggle with finances.

The memo came after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration was aware of the issue and was "exploring options to prevent this from being implemented while some federal workers are furloughed". Republicans offered to scrap the executive pay raise in return for agreeing to a 1.9 percent raise for civil servants. A pay cap on top officials was enacted in 2013, but must be renewed every year.

"[It] would be prudent for agencies to continue to pay these senior political officials at the frozen rate", Weichert wrote in a memo to the heads of executive departments and agencies. The Senior Executives Association, an organization that represents the highest-earning career government officials, estimates that the pay bump will cost taxpayers $300 million over 10 years. The vice-president, Mike Pence, will receive a raise too.

The memo notes the pay freeze would therefore end effectively on Saturday if no legislative action occurs.

Trump previously froze pay for all federal workers in 2019 apart from the military.

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