WASHINGTON – The head of the largest federal employee union today denounced efforts to pay for an extension in unemployment benefits by cutting retirement benefits of federal employees.
“Working class men and women who have dedicated their lives to serve their country should not be on the hook for solving a crisis they did not create,” American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage said.
“No group has sacrificed like federal employees. Congress froze their pay for two years, which cost federal employees $60 billion in lost wages. Continuing to attack federal employees’ pay and benefits doesn’t create new jobs and only adds to the pain and suffering many working class men and women are experiencing,” Gage said.
Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., has insisted that the extension in unemployment insurance be paid for on the backs of federal employees. Lawmakers are close to agreeing on a plan that would make $15 billion in cuts to federal employees’ retirement to cover half of the cost of extending unemployment benefits.
In addition, Congressional Republicans have proposed $45 billion in cuts to federal employee retirement benefits to pay for road and transportation projects in the highway bill.
“If anyone should pay for extending unemployment benefits, it’s the big banks whose shady lending practices kicked millions of people out of their homes, and the millionaires and billionaires who continue to profit while millions of Americans are out of work,” Gage said. “Federal employees should not be asked to clean up their mess.”