Government Open, Budget Caps Raised; Time to Govern
Friday, February 9, 2018
Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) applauds Congress on passing a Continuing Resolution (CR) to reopen government after a brief pre-dawn shutdown, allowing Federal employees to report to work Friday morning.
“Without a minute to spare, Congress pulled off an agreement to keep the government working for another six weeks,” stated NFFE national president Randy Erwin. “It is unfortunate that we had to endure another shutdown, albeit a brief one, but the agreement is good news for federal workers and their families. I am encouraged also by the decision to increase funding to federal agencies through fiscal year 2019, which eliminates the need for further budget cuts to agencies and a workforce that are already struggling.”
The latest CR funds the government through March 23, and it lifts budget caps by $300 billion through fiscal year 2019. Raising the spending caps eliminates the threat of across-the-board budget cuts to agencies, but questions remain on whether Congress will look to reduce employee pay and benefits in the future to offset the increase in deficit spending expected under the higher budget caps.
“The federal workforce has had their pay and benefits cut by $182 billion since 2011 through multiple pay freezes, reduced pay increases, unpaid furlough days, and two increases to mandatory retirement contributions,” Erwin continued. “We’ve done enough. Congress needs to stop taking from federal employees and their families to make up for poor fiscal planning.”
“It is time to move past the fantasy that running the most powerful country in the world somehow gets cheaper over time,” Erwin concluded. “Congress has six weeks to figure it out. My advice to them is to get to work, drop any political illusions that evade their responsibility to govern, and pass a spending bill that reflects the actual needs of the American people and the government that serves them.”