WASHINGTON – In response to the federal government running out of funds to continue operations past midnight Friday, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. issued the following statement:
“Congress and the administration have only themselves to blame for failing to keep the federal government open. This shutdown is a direct result of lawmakers continuing to punt the ball instead of having the courage to make the tough decisions that we elected them to do.
“Federal employees want to go to work. They believe in their mission and want to provide quality services to the American people. But now, 850,000 of them will report to work on Monday, only to be told to go home, while a million or more will be forced to work without pay for as long as this shutdown drags out.
“Every day that this shutdown continues, more Americans will begin to feel the effects as federal offices close their doors to the public, the government stops paying its bills, and millions of government workers and military service members no longer get paid.
“Failing to fund the government even for a day has real-world consequences. The 2013 shutdown lasted 16 days, cost American taxpayers $24 billion, and caused valuable work to grind to a halt. Hundreds of cancer patients were prevented from enrolling in NIH clinical trials, 6,300 children were denied access to Head Start programs for up to 9 days, 1,200 EPA site inspections were canceled, and 1,400 OSHA inspections to prevent workplace fatalities and injuries were stopped. These are just a few examples.
“In a government shutdown, it is the American people who pay the price. They deserve to know that the government services they pay for will be there when they need them. I urge lawmakers to come to the table at once, resolve their differences, and pass a budget that ends this shutdown and all the uncertainty that comes with it.”
For more information visit www.afge.org/shutdown.