The 2013 government shutdown cost the economy $24 billion, and it could happen again at the end of this month.
That’s why AFGE is mobilizing support for the Federal Employees Fair Treatment Act of 2015 (FEFTA) to be introduced by Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland to ensure that all government employees receive guaranteed back pay for their work in the event of any future government shutdown. The bill also would allow employees with scheduled leave during a shutdown to take that leave.
FEFTA is urgently needed as elected officials led by Sen. Ted Cruz, who spearheaded the previous shutdown, are again willing to take the whole country hostage in order to push their ideological agenda – this time to block funding for Planned Parenthood.
As Congress is unlikely to pass the 12 separate funding bills by Sept. 30, their other option is to renew this fiscal year’s budget, known as continuing resolution.
Fueling the shutdown is the issue over how the government should be funded. While many in Congress agreed sequestration needs to end, they want to replace sequestration cuts with cuts to federal agencies. These are the same elected officials who are not willing to close tax loopholes which allow big corporations to avoid paying taxes that could be used to fund various programs that benefit everyone in this country.
Having to live with constant threats of a government shutdown every year is extremely demoralizing to the federal workforce and damaging the government’s ability to recruit and retain the best and the brightest.
Federal employees have already sacrificed $159 billion. AFGE is working to make sure that any deal that lifts sequestration does not pay for it by cutting federal employees’ pay, health insurance, retirement or benefits any further.