NFFE President Erwin to Congress: Do Your Job; Reach Agreement to Fund Government and Avert a Costly Shutdown
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Dorsey
September 26, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Today, Randy Erwin, National President of the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), sent a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging lawmakers to put differences aside and reach an agreement to keep the federal government funded and operational before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1st.
“This government shutdown, like all occasions before it, is wasteful, irresponsible, and entirely avoidable,” Erwin stated in the letter. “Every day that Congress allows this shutdown to go on, hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money will be wasted. Our elected representatives were sent to Washington to govern in the best interest of their constituents. Under no circumstances is a government shutdown beneficial to the American people. Congress must do its job and govern in a responsible manner.”
NFFE is calling on lawmakers to consider the harm that a government shutdown would cause not only for federal employees, but the American public.
“A government shutdown is a tremendous burden on the American people. Federal government workers perform numerous functions critical to our way of life. Federal employees keep our military ready, care for our cherished veterans, and maintain our national parks, forests, and other public lands. They also make sure our air is fit to breathe, our water is clean to drink, and our food safe to eat. They perform thousands of crucial functions like these every day. A government shutdown would lock many federal workers out of their jobs and keep these critical tasks from being performed.”
NFFE President Erwin also reiterated the severe consequences that a government shutdown would have on the federal wildland firefighting workforce. The union fears that if a shutdown occurs before Congress reaches an agreement on funding salaries for wildland firefighters, employees will resign from federal service and start looking for work elsewhere.
“If we enter this shutdown before approving funding for federal wildland firefighter salaries, it will be too late to stop a pay cliff from occurring in which firefighters will see their pay cut by 50% up to $20,000,” Erwin said. “It is estimated that 30 percent to 50 percent of the workforce will quit federal service in the coming weeks. As a result, this country will be unable to respond to megafires and other emergencies because Congress failed to come to an agreement to appropriately pay the folks who risk their lives to defend us from wildfires. That means communities are going to burn and people are going to die. Those are the sobering stakes of inaction on this crucial matter. We need a permanent solution on wildland firefighter pay immediately.”