Progress made by avoiding shutdown, but sequester must be addressed immediately

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2014 — In response to House passage of the Fiscal Year 2015 omnibus appropriations measure, J. David Cox, Sr., National President of the American Federation of Government Employees, issued the following statement:

“AFGE is pleased that a catastrophic government shutdown will likely be avoided with the passage of this crucial funding measure. We urge the Senate to waste no time in passing its version so the cloud of a potential government shutdown is lifted for the remainder of the fiscal year.

We are pleased that the final measure included a one-percent pay increase for employees; particularly the extension of that increase to wage grade employees that AFGE fought so hard to secure. But one percent is not nearly enough to make up for the financial hardship wrought by years of frozen pay and substandard increases.

Including the FY15 increase, employees have seen a paltry two-percent total increase in their paychecks over last five years. When accounting for inflation, most federal workers have actually taken a substantial pay cut. Next year Congress and the President must honor the hard work of our veterans’ caregivers, border patrol agents, food safety inspectors, and other dedicated employees with the real pay increase they have earned.

AFGE appreciates the strong leadership of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Tom Udall (D-NM) in ensuring the retention of the longstanding prohibition on the controversial OMB Circular A-76 privatization process, which the Administration acknowledges is significantly flawed.

AFGE is pleased the final appropriations package includes a section providing that none of the omnibus’s funding may be used to relocate any asset management positions of HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing. We have had serious concerns about HUD’s reorganization of the Office of Multifamily Housing, believing it will be costly to implement, will generate little or no savings, and will not resolve any of the HUD-identified problems. While this important section will not stop the MFH reorganization altogether, it will codify the agreement between HUD and congressional appropriators to keep MFH asset management staff in local communities near federal assets and to keep open all existing MFH offices.

With the FY2015 appropriations process mostly behind us, Congress must immediately turn its attention to cancelling the reckless sequester cuts set to resume late next year. Government services the American people rely on have already been cut to the bone. Slashing hundreds of billions more over the next several years will cripple key services, kill hundreds of thousands of jobs, and devastate local economies all across America.”

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.

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