WASHINGTON – As Congress prepares to vote on the 2011 budget compromise, the American Federation of Government Employees will continue to fight any cuts that would impact essential services that Americans rely on, AFGE National President John Gage said.
“Continuing to take a wrecking ball to the essential services that Americans rely on isn't the answer,” Gage said. “It’s time for lawmakers to make sure that everyone is paying their fair share.”
The 11th hour budget compromise that averted a government shutdown cuts $38.5 billion in spending compared to 2010 levels, down from the $61 billion approved by the House. Harmful cuts to programs such as Head Start and Pell Grants were averted, while funding increases were approved for the Veterans Affairs Department and financial regulatory agencies that are vital to strengthening the economy.
The agreement brokered with Senate Democrats and President Obama also does not include $1.3 billion in cuts to federal employee performance-based bonuses and step increases that was sought by Republican budget negotiators. Rather, non-Defense agencies will absorb a 0.2 percent across-the-board spending cut.
“The spending reductions will be difficult for many programs to absorb – make no mistake about it. But they are far less damaging than the draconian cuts that would have gone into effect if the Republican-led House had its way,” Gage said.