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‘Pouring salt into the wound’: Trump freezes pay of nearly 2 million federal workers during shutdown over his wall

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With hundreds of thousands of federal employees currently furloughed or working without pay due to the ongoing government shutdown, President Donald Trump delivered another blow to struggling workers on Friday by signing an executive order that will freeze the pay of around two million public employees in 2019.

This article first appeared at Common Dreams.

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“This is just pouring salt into the wound,” declared Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents around 100,000 federal workers. “It is shocking that federal employees are taking yet another financial hit. As if missed paychecks and working without pay were not enough, now they have been told that they don’t even deserve a modest pay increase.”

Trump’s executive order—which largely flew under the radar of national news coverage—makes official his announcement earlier this year that he would cancel a scheduled 2.1 percent pay raise for 1.8 million non-military federal workers

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As justification for the widely denounced move, Trump cited the need to “put our nation on a fiscally sustainable course.”

The president’s sudden concern for the budget deficit came just months after he signed into law $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, which have disproportionately flowed to wealthy Americans and large corporations.

“President Trump pushed through a tax scam that gave unprecedented handouts to billionaires and corporations—but believes it’s too expensive to pay hardworking federal workers a reasonable wage,” wrote Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) following Trump’s August announcement.

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The president’s move to freeze the pay of millions of federal workers comes as hundreds of thousands of public employees and government contractors are increasingly worried about being able to make rent and pay their bills, as the partial shutdown heads into January with no agreement in sight.

“We’re sort of being held hostage in the middle, and we have families and obligations,” Dena Ivey, a furloughed probate specialist in the Anchorage office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, told the New York Times on Friday. “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to make rent. I’m basically living on credit now.”

The Trump administration sparked outrage on Thursday by suggesting that federal workers could do odd jobs for their landlords such as “painting” or “carpentry” to help cover rent as the shutdown continues.

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As Vox reported on Thursday, while many federal workers could receive back pay after the government is reopened, thousands of government contractors aren’t “going to be paid at all.”

“As many as 2,000 subcontractors in federal buildings including janitors, security guards, and cafeteria servers are not only experiencing a sharp break in their work schedules, they also won’t be compensated for this pause,” Vox noted. “Government employees typically receive back pay after the shutdown is over, but contractors are paid directly by companies that can’t bill the government for services when it’s shut down. Because these companies won’t get paid, they, in turn, aren’t able to pay their workers.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump’s economic ‘brain trust’ ridiculed as America braces for a trade war recession: report

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President Donald Trump appears unprepared to deal with a potential recession, the Associated Press reported Friday.

"Facing a trade war against China that has shaken the global economy, President Donald Trump gathered his most trusted economic aides in the Oval Office," the AP reported. "The assembled brain trust for Friday’s urgent consultations included an economics chief best known for his stint as a cable TV commentator; a trade adviser whose pro-tariff views are outside the economic mainstream; and a treasury secretary (joining by phone on his way back from vacation) who made millions off the housing crisis and then turned to financing Hollywood movies."

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ICE and Homeland Security busted pushing right-wing propaganda and conspiracy theories

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Donald Trump in Oval Office

Multiple federal departments have been pushing far-right propaganda to federal employees.

"An arm of the Justice Department regularly sent summaries and links to articles from an online white nationalist publication over the last year, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found. In addition, similar newsletters sent to the Labor Department, ICE, HUD and the Department of Homeland Security, included links and content from hyperpartisan and conspiracy-oriented publishers," BuzzFeed News reported Friday.

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Trump claimed North Korea missile testing ‘would stop’ — but they just launched again: report

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The upcoming G7 summit meeting in Bairritz, France will have one more issue to grapple with after North Korea reportedly conducted missile tests.

"South Korea's military confirms that North Korea has launched a projectile this morning. From South Hamgyong Province. Japan's government reported it first," Voice of America Seoul bureau chief William Gallo Tweeted Friday.

"North Korea has now conducted nine rounds of launches since early May. But this one's notable because it comes after Trump says Kim promised "this testing would stop when the exercises end." They did end Tuesday. And yet..." he noted.

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