WASHINGTON – The largest union representing federal government workers is echoing a call by 95 members of Congress to oppose further cuts to federal employee pay and benefits as part of any budget negotiations.
Reps. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and Elijah Cummings of Maryland led 95 members of Congress in urging their fellow lawmakers to reject cutting federal employee pay and benefits to offset increased discretionary spending.
“These lawmakers understand the financial pain and sacrifice that current and retired federal employees have endured in the name of deficit reduction,” American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said.
“Federal employees have had their pay and benefits cut by $182 billion and growing since 2011,” Cox said. “They are earning 6.5 percent less today than they did at the start of this decade, even as costs for health care, groceries, and other expenses continue to rise. Federal workers can’t afford more cuts to their pay and benefits.”
Congressman Connolly said it’s time for Congress to stop treating federal workers like a piggy bank.
“Enough is enough. No other group has been asked to sacrifice more towards deficit reduction than our federal workforce. They've endured pay freezes, a shutdown, sequestration, furloughs and benefit cuts. The federal workforce should be thanked for their honorable service, not treated like a piggy bank,” Connolly said.
In a Dec. 22 letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, lawmakers said additional cuts to federal employee pay and benefits should not be used to offset increased discretionary spending caused by lifting government spending caps.
“While we agree that a long-term bipartisan budget agreement to lift the devastating sequestration caps is necessary, to finance such an agreement on the backs of middle class federal employees who have dedicated their lives to serving our nation would be wrong under any circumstances,” the letter states. “But to do so, immediately after passing an unpaid-for tax cut that will explode the federal deficit and disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans, would be a slap in the face to the hardworking Americans who care for our veterans, process our Social Security checks, and protect our national parks.”
“Federal employees and retirees have already done their part,” the letter concludes. “It is time to find other ways to reduce the deficit.”