Congress Spares Federal Workers' Paychecks in New Budget

Categories: Sequester

Thanks to AFGE, a bipartisan proposal that passed both the House and the Senate did not balance the budget on the backs of federal employees.

Earlier this year, Congress floated proposals that would have devastated your finances, career, and retirement. Take a trip down memory lane below and see what could have happened to you and your loved ones had AFGE not stood our ground and fought on your behalf:

  1. Your pension would have been cut. You would have been required to pay an additional 6% of your salary to get the same pension plan you currently have. They also wanted to reduce the rate of return in the Thrift Savings Plan G-Fund.
  2. Your health insurance would have taken a hit. They wanted to slash more than $60 billion by vouchering federal employee health benefits. The FEHB benefit would grow at a rate below the overall increase in health care costs. Over time, a larger share of health care costs would be pushed onto you. Federal retirees under the Civil Service Retirement System would have faced a 53% increase in their premiums under Medicare Part B.
  3. You would have had to do more with less. You would have had to shoulder other people’s workload as agencies would not fill every vacancy when one of you leave or retire. They also wanted to cut the “non-security” federal workforce by 10%, or $59 billion dollars worth of staffing cuts without taking into consideration the impact on the American people who count on your work.
  4. You wouldn’t have had the tools you need to do your job. Sequestration would have been left in place, preventing your agencies from carrying out their mission. That means less resources to cure deadly diseases, protect air travelers, rescue victims of natural disasters, protect our borders, protect food safety, keep criminals off the streets, and more.
  5. More people could have been furloughed. They wanted to take away fees-based agencies’ ability to fund their programs and shield themselves from a government shutdown. The budget proposal would require these programs that are currently funded through fees to be funded through the annual appropriations process.
  6. Air travelers would have been less safe. They wanted to return to the pre-9/11 airport security by requiring TSA to hand over control of airport security at more airports to for-profit companies, endangering air travelers and our nation’s security.
  7. Grandmas would have gotten the short end of the stick. They wanted to turn Medicare into a voucher program, thereby putting the lives of seniors in the hands of for-profit insurance companies.
  8. The disabled, poor kids and seniors would have gotten an even shorter end of the stick. They wanted to take away health coverage for many poor children, people with disabilities, and seniors in nursing home.
  9. Our freedom to join a union would have been taken away. The process of forming unions is already skewed in favor of employers. They wanted to make it even more difficult for workers to join a union to ensure fair compensation and treatment in the workplace.

Besides the good news on your compensation, the two-year budget deal also would prevent a government shutdown, suspend sequestration for the next two years, and authorize Congress to pay its bills on time.

“This budget proposal is an exceedingly rare example of what can be accomplished when elected officials put aside their ideology and govern in a responsible way that benefits working families,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. “Federal workers have endured $159 billion in cuts under the guise of fiscal restraint, and our members were united in opposing any budget that would target them for additional sacrifice.”

AFGE urges Congress to repeal sequestration altogether so that these manufactured crises will no longer occur.

AFGE also remains concerned about the $5 billion cut to the Pentagon’s budget required by the budget agreement. Operations and maintenance accounts could be a target. Important work done at depots and arsenals could take a hit. AFGE is urging the Defense Department to look elsewhere for cuts. Bringing in-house work being performed by contractors, who are two to three times more expensive than federal employees, is a good start.

AFGE is encouraged to learn that in discussions with members of Congress, Peter Levine, the Pentagon’s new deputy chief management officer who leads the department’s efforts to streamline business processes and achieve efficiencies, insisted that contractors also be cut to generate the $5 billion in savings. 

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