President Trump often speaks about how great the economy is, but now he’s decided to pick the winners and losers in it.

Trump has canceled a scheduled pay raise for federal workers due in January, saying the nation’s budget can’t support it.

In a letter to Congress he states that the 2.1 percent across-the-board increase would add billions to the federal deficit. A deficit that is expected to balloon, after Trump’s tax cuts approved by the GOP congress last year.

“We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases. I view the increases that would otherwise take effect as inappropriate,” Trump wrote.

The proposal sets up a fight with Congress, which could effectively overturn the action in upcoming spending legislation. Without such intervention, the move would affect most of the 2.1 million federal employees around the nation, about 1.7 million of which live in areas outside of the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Members of the military, on the other hand, are on schedule to receive a 2.6 percent pay increase.

Federal employees have had their pay and benefits cut by over $200 billion since 2011, and they are earning nearly 5 percent less today than they did at the start of the decade.

The federal deficit has exploded under Trump, with the advent of the GOP tax law that is projected to cost $1.9 trillion over the course of a decade, as well as a bipartisan spending deal that increased discretionary spending by nearly $300 billion in 2018 and 2019.

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