Defense Bill Clears Panel Without Job Cuts
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On May 8, 2014 the House Armed Services Committee passed the Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 4435. The NDAA provides the funding, authorities and accountability for the Armed Forces’ yearly budget and appropriations process. Absent from the bill upon passage out of committee was a controversial amendment that was expected to be offered during the markup process (when a Committee meets to discuss, debate, amend and vote on legislation) – an amendment that would have called for cutting nearly 115,000 civilian Defense jobs, 15 percent of the civilian Defense workforce. After NFFE-IAM and our allies in labor rallied against the proposal, the amendment was dropped without the formality of a vote.
“The committee dropping the amendment was a good thing,” said Randy Erwin, Legislative Director for the National Federation of Federal Employees. “That means our effort to keep this harmful amendment out of the Defense bill was successful for now, but this fight is not over yet.”
Sources on Capitol Hill have indicated that some lawmakers intend to make another run at getting this amendment attached to the NDAA. It is expected that the proposal will be offered as a floor amendment when the full House of Representatives considers the Defense bill, most likely during the week of May 19th.
“We are not going to let up on this fight,” said Erwin. “We beat this amendment in Committee, and we intend to beat it again if it comes up on the House floor. But we need NFFE-IAM members to continue to make calls and write letters so that Congress gets the message: Cutting 15 percent of the Defense workforce is a bad idea. Nobody who supports this amendment can say with credibility that they support the U.S. military. This would be the wrong path for our country”
Every NFFE-IAM member is encouraged to contact his or her member of Congress to urge them to oppose H.R. 4257 (legislation with similar language and intent as the anticipated amendment) or any effort to cut 115,000 civilian Defense jobs.
When contacting lawmakers, be sure to do so as a constituent, on your own time, using your own phone.
The number to the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121