Of course, as a former fed, I'm used to this. Every year I was a fed, we got to wonder how much of our contractually obligated locality pay increases we would actually get, because Congress was free to set the level in the budget despite previous negotiations and legislation.
As folks in minority cultures have long observed, the adherence to these rules of principle and when they apply depends an awful lot on whether they protect people "like us" or not. It is an asymetry in culture and attitude that most people don't run up against but a few run up against all the time. Somehow, although the same rules are supposed to apply to everyone, they always seem to apply differently to different groups of people.
This calls to mind Feld's Law of Sleeping Under Bridges:
"If the law, in its majestic equality, forbids both the rich and poor from sleeping under bridges, then when we find rich people sleeping under bridges, they damn well better do time."