Government Shutdown Averted as Congress Reaches Tentative Budget Deal


Federal employees everywhere breathed a sigh of relief Friday night as Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced a tentative agreement to fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year.

Finalized with less than two hours to go, the agreement will not go into effect until later this week. Congressional staff must first write the handshake agreement into legislative language and pass a bill through both chambers before it goes to the White House for the President’s signature. In the meantime, Congress passed a bridge continuing resolution to fund the government until the full fiscal year bill is signed into law.

“We are certainly relieved that a deal was reached, but we have some reservations,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “We still do not know how big the cuts are going to be across different agencies. Although we have been given an assurance that provisions directly targeting federal employees – like eliminating step increases – are not part of the deal, the billions in cuts are still likely to have an impact on federal workers employed at the agencies that receive cuts.”

Though details on the final agreement are scarce, it has been confirmed that a total of $38.5 billion will be cut from FY 2010 spending levels, representing the largest year over year budget cut in American history. The results of this major reduction will have a serious impact on federal agencies throughout government. Based upon a White House release issued Saturday afternoon, the agreement cuts $13 billion from the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, in addition to $8 billion in cuts to the State Department and other foreign assistance programs. Housing assistance programs and transportation projects will take a hit as well, though the release does not specify how much.

As details are few and far between, NFFE will continue to work with Congress to see how these cuts negatively impact the critical missions of federal agencies and the hardworking federal employees who make those missions happen. Over the course of this week, NFFE will keep you informed as a clearer picture of this budget deal emerges.