WASHINGTON – On the verge of another potential government shutdown, the American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. released the following statement:
“A government shutdown is never something that we want to see happen. Failing to fund the government’s operations has real-world implications for everyone in this country. Unlike previous shutdowns that were waged purely for political gain and personal retribution, lawmakers today are playing with the rightfully earned health care benefits and pensions of 12,500 retirees and their dependents.
“Our brothers and sisters at the United Mine Workers of America are facing a crisis that can be easily averted if senators do the right thing and include the full Miners Protection Act in the must-pass continuing resolution. These hard-working men and women have earned their pensions and benefits, fair and square. The Senate needs to step up to the plate.
“And it’s not just the 12,500 retirees and their dependents who will suffer if the Senate fails to act. During a government shutdown, vital government programs and services are brought to a halt because federal employees are not allowed to go to work. Those who do go to work are forced to do so without pay.
“This shutdown will have a far-reaching economic impact on the entire country as 85 percent of federal workers live outside the Washington metropolitan area. Families shouldn’t have to worry about getting their next paycheck, and that could soon be a frightening reality to many.
“The 2013 shutdown resulted in a $24 billion hit to the U.S. economy. Key services offered by our federal public servants – like issuing new Social Security cards and processing veteran benefits claims – were stopped. It was a disaster and it could soon be repeated during the height of the holiday season.”