Opinion | Punishing Federal Workers for a Political Stalemate

To the Editor:

Re “Trump Digs In, Dimming Hope of a Budget Deal” (front page, Dec. 31) and “Trump Orders Pay Freeze for Federal Civilian Staff” (news article, Dec. 30):

There is near certainty that all federal workers will receive their back pay, as they have in every other recent government shutdown. A bipartisan bill in the House will receive immediate action when Speaker Nancy Pelosi takes control in a few days, and the Senate has already unanimously passed such a bill and would do so again in the new year.

President Trump seems delighted to continue his war on federal employees at any cost, not only using them as a pawn in his ill-advised fight for a wall, but also saying he will stiff them on their scheduled pay raise.

Despite the occupant of the White House, federal workers should rest assured that those of us who represent them — a broad and bipartisan swath of members of Congress — have their backs and will make sure the stoppage in pay is rectified.

Don Beyer
Alexandria, Va.
The writer, a Democrat, represents Virginia’s Eighth District and is the sponsor of H.R. 7368, the Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act.

To the Editor:

For years, federal employees have suffered the indignity and financial harm of having to work without pay or being furloughed without pay as a result of Republican-engineered shutdowns of the federal government. Once again, they are suffering, this time being held hostage to President Trump’s insistence that Congress (and, ultimately, American taxpayers) fund the building of a medieval wall at our southern border, one that he had repeatedly promised would be paid for by Mexico and one that major opinion polls show a clear majority of Americans oppose.

Now, to add insult to injury, the president has ordered a pay freeze for federal workers, a fair percentage of whom are not receiving any pay at all because of his partial shutdown of the government. And so the president — a multibillionaire who continues to make ungodly sums of money in part by shamelessly exploiting his office for private gain (in clear violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution) and who, along with his family, continues to benefit from one of the biggest tax giveaways to the rich in American history — is denying modest raises to the ordinary working men and women who keep our Republic functioning.

Mr. Trump’s order is not only unfair; it’s obscene.

Elliott B. Jacobson
Scarsdale, N.Y.
The writer was a federal employee, an assistant United States attorney, during several government shutdowns.

To the Editor:

It’s not about the wall. The $5 billion that President Trump is asking for is 1/880th of the estimated $4.4 trillion federal budget for 2019. It’s about the president.

It’s about telling lies nearly every day.

It’s about saying Democrats want open borders for drugs and criminals and rapists to enter the United States.

It’s about trying to kill Obamacare.

It’s about separating migrant toddlers from their families.

It’s about pulling out of the Paris climate accord.

It’s about believing Vladimir Putin rather than our own intelligence agencies.

It’s about ruining the holidays for 5,000 troops by sending them to the Mexican border in order to make a political statement.

It’s about defending white supremacists.

It’s about calling the press the enemy of the people.

It’s about hiding tax returns.

It’s about being a jerk for two years.

It’s not about the wall.

William Goldman
Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.

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