WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees today launched a nationwide advertising campaign calling out Republican lawmakers for supporting a plan to pay for the payroll tax relief extension by slashing federal employee wages and jobs.
The “Explain it to me, GOP” campaign highlights the hypocrisy of forcing federal employees to pay for extending payroll tax relief that benefits all working Americans.
“Extending payroll tax relief for another year will boost the economy by putting an extra $1,500 in the pockets of the average American family. But forcing middle-class workers to pay for it is hypocrisy at its worst,” the ad reads. “Federal employees are part of the 99 percent. Explain to me, GOP, how slashing their jobs and wages helps the economy.”
The national ad then asks specific Republican representatives and senators to explain how cutting jobs and freezing wages of VA nurses, defense workers, Social Security claims representatives and other federal employees helps the economy in their districts and states.
“We are calling out these GOP lawmakers and asking them to explain how freezing federal employee salaries and cutting hundreds of thousands of federal jobs will boost the economy in their communities,” AFGE National President John Gage said.
“Federal employees already have had their pay frozen for two years and they’re facing layoffs and downsizing due to shrinking agency budgets. Subjecting them to additional pay freezes and layoffs is wrong, especially when the wealthiest 1 percent aren’t being asked to sacrifice anything.”
Last week, the GOP proposed paying for the payroll tax relief extension by extending the federal employee pay freeze for another three years and cutting the federal workforce by 10 percent, or roughly 200,000 jobs. The Senate resoundingly defeated the proposal, but Republican lawmakers continue to press for federal employee pay and job cuts. Some GOP lawmakers oppose extending the payroll tax relief at all, even though they support proposals to roll back taxes for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.
“Ending the payroll tax break will mean a tax increase of almost $1,500 for the average American family next year – diminishing take home pay and spending power for working people at a time when the economy cannot afford another hit,” Gage said.
The full-page ad ran in this morning’s Politico newspaper, which is distributed to every lawmaker on Capitol Hill. Versions of the ad also have been sent to AFGE locals to run in their local newspapers.
A companion online ad is running on select news websites. The online ad features a Veterans Affairs Department nurse asking, “How does cutting jobs create jobs? Explain it to me, GOP.”
The ads direct readers to a special website, www.ExplainItToMeGOP.org, that has been created to share information regarding the issue.