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*-- Trump slashes federal pay increase --*

President Donald Trump on Thursday announced plans to cancel a scheduled pay raise for civilian federal workers, saying the nation's budget could not sustain the increases.

The president made the announcement in a letter to the Senate and House.

"We must maintain efforts to put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases," Trump said.

The government originally planned 2.1 percent across-the-board increases and other adjustments based on the region of the country to take effect in 2019. Trump deemed both "inappropriate."

"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," he said.

Trump wanted to freeze federal pay in the 2019 budget, but the Senate included a 1.9 percent increase in its plan. The House and Senate plan to reconcile their two versions of the budget now that Congress is back in session.

The canceled raises do not affect members of the military.

Some members of Congress -- both Democrats and Republicans -- opposed Trump's announcement.

"We cannot balance the budget on the backs of our federal employees and I will work with my House and Senate colleagues to keep the pay increase in our appropriations measures that we vote on in September," Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., said.


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