WASHINGTON – J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the nation’s largest federal employee union, gave the following statement following President Trump's speech in Phoenix August 22, 2017 on a potential government shutdown and changes to funding the VA:
“In his quest to fund his border wall, President Trump's threat to shut down the federal government is utterly irresponsible. Government shutdowns compromise the safety of the American public. Using American civil servants as a bargaining chip illustrates that President Trump's priorities are not to take care of the American people," Cox said. "In a government shutdown, millions of American families pay the price."
"President Trump is threatening to hold our federal budget hostage so he can get his pet project finished, something he promised Mexico would pay for, not the American public. Without a federal budget, our small businesses and potential home buyers will be left without loans. Our seniors will be left without essential benefits and assistance from the Social Security Administration. Our scientists will be forced to abandon their work finding cures and treatments for disease. And our national parks, monuments, and museums will close."
Cox also called on Congress to reject a White House proposal to put more money into the VA Choice Program, and instead focus on filling the 49,000 vacancies in the VA Health Care System.
“President Trump shamefully continues to misrepresent his attempts to privatize and cannibalize the VA under the veil of “accountability” and “choice” programs. Both programs undermine veterans’ access to care.
“Time and again, studies have shown that our veterans overwhelmingly prefer the doctors and care of the VA medical system," Cox said. "Often, the doctors and caretakers at the VA are veterans themselves, and know the kind of care and assistance that our heroes need. We should not be taking money away from the VA, we should be investing in our VA health care system, to better enable them to provide the kind of quality health care our veterans deserve.”