(Washington, D.C.)—Yesterday, the House Republican leadership showed Americans just how backward and morally indefensible the President’s latest $1.7 trillion tax cut is,” stated AFGE National President Bobby L. Harnage, Sr., in response to a directive by Rep. Jim Nussle (R-Iowa), Chairman of the House Budget Committee. Chairman Nussle has ordered the House Government Reform Committee—which overseas federal employee and retiree programs—to produce savings of $1.1 billion in fiscal 2004, $11 billion over five years and almost $40 billion over 10 years.
“To help pay for further tax relief for Bush’s billionaire buddies, the House Budget Committee has decreed that federal employees must give up either a portion of their earned retirement benefits or their health care,” Harnage added.
“People who care for our veterans, repair aircraft on military bases, get the Social Security checks out to the elderly and disabled, and who secure our borders will have to pay for the champagne and caviar American billionaires serve in their new villas in the French countryside,” Harnage said. “This outrageous policy is morally wrong, economically reckless, and AFGE will not let it happen.”
“Federal employees are middle class, working families trying to make ends meet. They sacrificed more than any other single group in America to balance the federal budget in the 1990’s,” Harnage pointed out. “They have already given up salary adjustments, opportunities for promotion, retirement benefits and jobs in order to erase the deficit caused by tax cuts for the rich enacted in the 1980’s.”
“These threatened cuts to the earned retirement benefits that support federal employees and their families are not deficit reduction,” Harnage said. “They are a dollar for dollar trade-off between the idle rich and the people who come to work every day to provide services and protect the American people.”
“President Bush and his buddies don’t have to worry about life after retirement or health care,” Harnage noted. “But, for federal employees it’s a major concern of quality of life and survival.”
“When Bush justifies his second wave of tax cuts for billionaires he never mentions that he expects federal employees, retirees and their families to pay the price—he just fabricates entirely implausible scenarios of economic growth,” Harnage concluded. “The House Budget Committee apparently knows the President isn’t telling the truth, and has decided to gouge federal employees. They should all be ashamed.”
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 700,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.