President Donald Trump said he’s planning to spend the weekend studying up on the issue of government compensation a day after alerting lawmakers he was moving to freeze pay for federal employees.
“I’m going to be doing a little work over the weekend,” Trump said in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was touting a new administration initiative on retirement savings. “I’m going to be studying the federal workers in Washington that you have been reading so much about, people don’t want to give them the increase, they haven’t had one in a long time, I said I’m going to study that over the weekend.”
Trump raised hackles on Thursday when he sent a letter to Congress alerting of his intention to cancel a scheduled increase in federal pay. The move can be reversed if the House and Senate agree on a budget measure that includes the increase.
Corey Stewart, the conservative Republican running for Senate in Virginia, made a rare break from the President on Friday in opposing the move.
“I almost never differ with President Trump, but in this case, I do,” Stewart said. “Federal employees in Virginia wake up early, face punishing traffic and work hard to serve their nation and support their families. These workers need and deserve a pay raise. I encourage President Trump to reconsider his position.”
The budget proposal Trump unveiled earlier this year included a pay freeze for federal workers. In his letter on Thursday, he described an increase in pay as “inappropriate” given current economic conditions.
Still, Trump has touted a booming US economy, and various measures he has signed over the past year — including a two-year spending plan and GOP tax cuts — are expected to add to the federal deficit.
Trump appeared to indicate on Friday he would re-examine the issue of federal pay, which he suggested he had not considered in depth previously.
“Good time to study, Labor Day,” he said. “Let’s see how they do next week, a lot of people were against it, I’m going to take a good hard look over the weekend.”