President Trump will give his State of the Union address on Feb. 5. But understanding the state of our union includes understanding the state of federal agencies, which serve as the backbone of our government and provide taxpayer services to the American people.
As the recent government shutdown has demonstrated, federal agencies and federal employees play a crucial role in our lives. Take air traffic controllers, TSA officers, food inspectors, public health researchers, environmental inspectors, for example. Without them, our country simply cannot function. These hardworking men and women make our lives easier and safer, giving us freedom to work, play, and live.
But most people don’t have any idea how the agencies they so rely on are funded and staffed.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the state of our federal government and its workforce:
Understaffed & Underfunded
The Environmental Protection Agency has been hamstrung in its efforts to fulfill its mandate of protecting families and the environment. The Trump administration, for example, has rolled back clean water regulation, allowing industry to dump pollutants into our water sources. It has rolled back a climate change regulation that restricted new coal plants. On top of that, every year the administration proposes to severely cut the agency’s funding. In 2018, for example, it wanted to cut EPA’s 2018 budget by 31%, or about $2.6 billion, and get rid of 4,000 employees who dedicated their lives to fulfilling the agency’s mission and protecting community health in this country. It also wanted to cut more than 50 environmental protection programs and slash funding for cleaning up hazardous waste sites by 30%. Even though Congress, at the urging of our union and environmentalists, did not allow the proposed severe cuts, it revealed the administration’s anti-public health agenda. As a result of the administration’s hostility toward the agency and its mission, researchers and scientists are leaving the EPA in droves. EPA regional offices have also been quietly downsized.
Our union works with members of Congress every year to fight these cuts and make sure federal employees have the resources to do the work they’ve been hired to do. Without our involvement, the situation would have been much worse.
For more information on the state of our government and its workforce, visit www.afge.org.
Click here to join AFGE and our fight to protect democracy and our government.