Time Running out to Stop Shutdown
In seven days, the US government will plunge into a shutdown for the second time in two years. In the four years since John Boehner became Speaker of the House, he has already overseen one historic government shutdown – and he appears poised to lead the US government into yet another.
Now, in just two short years after one of Congress’ most historical failures, the body appears to be on the brink of plunging the American people into chaos once more. Many of the same extremists in Congress that advocated for a government shutdown in 2013, led by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), are advocating the same tactic in an effort to defund women’s health centers. The 2013 shutdown cost the American economy $24 billion, and it appears the same band of extremists in Congress are ready to bludgeon the US economy again with another disastrous shutdown.
So what can be done to stop the current trajectory to a government shutdown? Unfortunately, not a whole lot. The truth is that this funding fight in Congress is tied to the highly polarizing issue of Planned Parenthood funding and has nothing to do with the federal government. We recognize that NFFE-IAM members have a variety of opinions on Planned Parenthood – opinions we respect. Our fight is not with Planned Parenthood. Rather, NFFE strongly opposes the actions of tying this highly-partisan and volatile issue to the full faith and credit of the federal government. This Congress has failed to govern; instead its legislative agenda is driven by self-imposed crises. NFFE-IAM members want to work and carry out the business of the American people, but Congress continues to interrupt the delivery of critical government services.
Right now, NFFE is fighting for the passage of the Federal Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2015 (S. 2035). This bill, introduced by federal employee advocate Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, would ensure that federal employees that are furloughed or required to work during a shutdown receive the compensation they would otherwise be entitled to. This is priority number one for NFFE right now, and we will make sure this bill passes swiftly through Congress.
“It is a sad day when logic and reason are absent from governance,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “There is no reason why purely-partisan issues are elevated to the level of endangering the full faith and credit of the federal government and potentially casting the lives of more than one million federal employees into uncertainty. When the government shuts down, employees go without paychecks, resulting in missed mortgage payments, food taken off the table and unpaid student and auto loans. In addition, it results in the public not having access to the services that they expect their government to deliver as well as adversely impacting local communities and economies. A government shutdown is not a political tactic – it is a catastrophic, self-inflicted wound dealt by Congress, and it is wrong.”