WASHINGTON – In response to the U.S. House of Representatives passing a bipartisan spending bill that would reopen the federal government, guarantee retroactive pay to furloughed workers, and give federal employees a 1.9 percent pay adjustment, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. issued the following statement:
“Nobody wins in a government shutdown – even a partial one. We have 800,000 dedicated public servants who are either sent home without pay or are forced to put their lives on the line while their paychecks are on hold. The U.S. Senate needs to get their priorities straight and vote on this bill so America’s workforce can report for duty and the American taxpayer can receive the services they’ve already paid for.
“Thank you to the seven Republican members of the House that voted across party lines and stepped up to end this pointless shutdown and allow federal workers to do the job they were hired to do. The 2.1 million of us who have dedicated our lives to this country should be at work, and receive a fair pay adjustment after sacrificing billions of dollars in pay and benefits this decade.
“The women and men who keep our country running deserve to get their paycheck on payday. It’s unconscionable that starting this week, those who have worked tirelessly at our airports and federal prisons – among many other worksites and offices – will come home empty-handed. They deserve better and Congress and the administration must be better.
“The vote by the House shows that reopening the government is not a partisan issue but is a moral one. We urge senators to work in a bipartisan manner, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the bill to the floor, so our elected officials can vote to do the right thing.
“It’s very disheartening when I get calls from workers who are afraid they can’t pay their bills or rent, and it kills me to tell them there may not be an end in sight. These public servants joined the federal workforce so they could serve their country, and they do an admirable job.
“The reward for their service shouldn’t be continued uncertainty over the ability to do the job they signed up for or a question over when they’ll be paid. It should be a fully-funded spending bill that gets our government back up and running so we can all continue to receive the services we rely on and need.”