WASHINGTON – On the news that the Senate has barely averted yet another government shutdown, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. released the following statement:
“Throughout this evening AFGE has been communicating with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. We encouraged them to take action to provide for mine workers and their families and to keep the government open. We urge Congress to provide long-term relief to mine workers when Congress convenes in January.
“The threat of a government shutdown is becoming all too commonplace in Congress. Failing to fund the government’s operations has real-world implications for everyone in this country. Unlike previous shutdowns that were waged purely for political gain and personal retribution, lawmakers this time were playing with the rightfully earned health care benefits and pensions of 12,500 retirees and their dependents.
“Our brothers and sisters at the United Mine Workers of America do not deserve the stress and anguish brought about by this manufactured crisis. These hard-working men and women have earned their pensions and benefits, fair and square. Members of the Senate should be ashamed of themselves for playing budgetary games with these workers’ lives.
“Keeping the government open and running should never be subject to debate. Failing to fund the government for any reason isn’t just irresponsible governing, but a dangerous tactic. Shutdowns are costly to the government and the nation, and even the prospect of a shutdown causes anxiety to federal workers and everyone who depends on government programs and services.”