WASHINGTON – Ahead of Thursday’s meeting between Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate and the White House, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. issued the following statement:
“It is disheartening that we are once again at the brink of a government shutdown because Congress cannot do the job we elected them to do. Failing to fund the government’s operations is beyond unacceptable. It’s completely avoidable and a shameful waste of taxpayer dollars. Federal employees serve the American public. They believe in their mission and want to provide quality services to the American people in keeping the country safe, healthy and productive.
“Failing to fund the government’s operations has real-world implications for everyone in this country, and because Congress and the White House continue to play politics with our government we could all pay the price.
“Federal employees ensure the safety and security of the public at home and abroad, research cures for deadly diseases, keep our air, water, and food safe for consumption, and process benefits for countless seniors, veterans, and disabled Americans every day. Wondering when or if they will get paid, and how they will pay their bills during a prolonged shutdown, is a distraction they don’t need. And quite frankly, it’s one we as a nation cannot afford.
“The last time we suffered a shutdown, the American economy lost $24 billion, 6.6 million work days, and it lowered our Fourth Quarter GDP from 3 percent to 2.4 percent. As we all know, in a government shutdown, it is the American people who pay the price.
“We hope that today’s meeting between Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle and the President will yield positive results. Because if it doesn’t, around 850,000 dedicated public servants will be told they cannot come into work on Monday, and those that do will not be paid.
“There must be a more long-term solution to avoid to playing politics with the U.S. government going forward. Kicking the can down the road and dealing with it later does not work. The government workers who have dedicated their careers to serving the public deserve better, and the American taxpayers who pay for these services do too.”