For the last two weeks federal workers across the country have been waiting for Congress to take action and reopen the government. While the government shutdown is over, union leaders appear guarded. They are all happy to see the end of the Government shutdown and make a plea to never let this happen again.
American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement:
“On behalf of the 670,000 federal employees represented by AFGE, I am thrilled that a deal was reached to put our members back to work and restore the services American taxpayers count on. But make no mistake about it, this is not a happy day for federal employees. The Senate deal is simply a brief reprieve from the suffering federal employees and their families have endured for the past sixteen days. We cannot accept another government shutdown in just a few short weeks; federal workers and the public they serve have suffered enough….”
“….I am glad that lawmakers were able to come together to end this crisis without giving in to a radical group of hostage takers. Particular credit goes to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who exhibited extraordinary leadership during this trying time and held firm to his convictions. But those who perpetrated this inexcusable catastrophe on the American people should be turned out of office in 2014.
“In the coming weeks AFGE will fight all attempts to cut federal pay, retirement, or health care as Congress hashes out FY 14 spending levels. Federal employees are nobody’s bargaining chip. Our message to lawmakers is clear: No more cuts, no more furloughs, no more sacrifices on the backs of hardworking Americans. We will also fight to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits from any reductions, including cuts from the so-called chained CPI.”
AFSCME President Lee Saunders stated:
“For two weeks, Republican congressional leaders were derelict in their duty. They allowed a fringe element in their party – one vastly out of step with American values and priorities — to shut our government down and bring the country to the brink of defaulting on its financial obligations. Their actions demonstrated a callous disregard for this nation’s citizens, businesses and the economy.
The agreement reached is by no means perfect because it continues the Draconian cuts in public services until the next deadline in January. But after 16 days, this shutdown ordeal has come to an end. It should never happen again. The hardworking women and men of this country deserve better.” –Via Facebook
Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO released a statement after the debt deal was announced.
“Finally — after more than two weeks of government shutdown, with hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work and billions of dollars in avoidable losses — Republican leaders have stood down. While it is good news that we have avoided a crisis, we all know that it should never have happened. No party or faction inside a party should hold our economy hostage to extract political gains. We commend President Obama, Majority Leader Reid, and the leadership of the Democratic party for standing firm and resisting extortion….”
“….We desperately need to create an economy that works for all. The across the board sequester cuts hamper that effort and must be repealed. We need to focus on big ideas and the future – rather than getting bogged down in petty political battles.”
Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – issued the following statement:
“Thousands of LIUNA workers who have been furloughed due to the Republican government shutdown can breathe a brief sigh of relief. But the mere functioning of our democracy won’t be enough to avoid the economic brinksmanship we’ve witnessed over the past several weeks from those on the Tea Party fringe. Rebuilding America’s future will take more leaders with the moral courage to rebuild American bipartisanship. The partisan circus has to end because our tax dollars pay for both Republicans and Democrats to do their job of passing legislation that invests in our crumbling roads, bridges and waterways and reforms our broken immigration system, so that every worker has a chance to realize the American Dream.”
Even Congressional members chastised the GOP in holding the country hostage and forcing the government shutdown. The shutdown cost taxpayers billions, all for nothing.
Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter stated:
“The shutdown cost our economy $24 billion, and it costs thousands of Americans access to vital government services. We cannot continue to govern by crisis. It hurts small businesses, working families, and America’s economic standing in the world.
“Going forward, Congress must work out a long-term budget to reduce the deficit, invest in job creation, and strengthen the middle class. I am hopeful that cooler heads will prevail in that debate and that our country will benefit from more common sense.”
New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan echoed Congresswoman Shea-Porter’s sentiments.
“While I am pleased that Congress finally reached an agreement to end the federal government shutdown and avert a catastrophic default, this entire episode was reckless and unnecessary, and it caused real harm to New Hampshire’s families and economy.
“With today’s agreement, there are new deadlines in place, but the days of Washington operating by showdown must end. The uncertainty caused by each successive confrontation hurts our economy and puts senseless strain on families.”
Even Senator Ayotte (R-NH) agrees that we need to stop jumping from crisis to crisis.
“Americans are rightfully tired and frustrated, and we owe it to them to stop governing by crisis and start working together to solve problems.”
(From the Union Leader)
This debit ceiling deal means the total economic collapse was avoided. The deal also means that federal workers will return to work immediately and will receive back pay. There is also another little piece of good news for federal workers.
Federal workers will received a “1 percent pay raise beginning Jan. 1. It would be the first across-the-board pay raise for feds since 2010. ”
Where do we go from here? Do we need to start a new countdown clock till this continuing resolution expires in January and we hit the debt ceiling again in February? This type of legislating from crisis to crisis must end. This is one of the reasons why our national economy is still struggling to recover. Every time things start moving forward, up pops another crisis.
The GOP is in for a rude awakening in 2014 if they do not start working with Democrats in the House and Senate. The American people are pissed off at Congress at a whole but most of the blame falls squarely on the Republican leadership in the House.
Only 89 Days (or less) till the next crisis.