Top officials in President Donald Trump’s administration — including Vice President Mike Pence — are slated to get pay raises of more than $10,000 on Saturday, a week after Trump canceled scheduled raises for rank-and-file federal workers, 800,000 of whom are currently going without pay during the government shutdown.
Trump allowed key parts of the government — including Cabinet-level departments such as the Interior, Homeland Security and Commerce departments — to shutter on Dec. 23 when he said he would not sign funding bills for those agencies if they did not include more than $5 billion to build a wall on the southern border.
By failing to pass bills to fund the departments, Congress allowed a pay freeze on key executive branch officials — Cabinet secretaries and their deputies, top administrators and the vice president — to lapse, The Washington Post reported.
Pence, meanwhile, will get a 5.5-percent raise, from $230,700 to $243,500, as will Cabinet secretaries, from $199,700 to $210,700.
Trump issued an executive order on Dec. 28 freezing federal workers’ pay, depriving them of a scheduled 2.1-percent, across-the-board raise.
In August, Trump warned Congress he would do that, writing in a letter to congressional leaders, “We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.”
In a Rose Garden news conference today, Trump said the government shutdown served a “higher purpose” and that federal workers told him it was worth going without pay if he could get the wall built.
Trump, without naming any employees or providing any proof of the comments, said they told him: “Mr. President, keep going. This is far more important.”
Jeff Mason, a reporter for Reuters, reported after the news conference that Pence said he would not accept his pay raise.