Budget Deal Squeezes Federal Workers, Slams Unemployed

A proposed budget deal making its way through the halls of Congress just before the Christmas recess would put deficit reduction on the backs of federal workers and end unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans during the holiday season.

The recently-negotiated budget deal would prevent another government shutdown in January and includes temporary relief from sequestration over the next two years. But it also demands more sacrifice from federal employees and ends unemployment insurance for 1.3 million jobless workers.

“This is death by 1,000 cuts,” says NFFE/IAM President William R. Dougan.

The deal, negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), would slash an estimated $6 billion from the pensions of all federal workers hired after December 31, 2013

“Federal employees have contributed $113 billion in deficit reductions over the past three years in the form of pay freezes, increased pension contributions and the turmoil of a government shutdown,” said Dougan. “This budget treats new federal employees as second-class citizens while robbing future generations of their dignity. Congress continues to make damaging cuts to America’s workforce while corporate special interests are given a pass again and again. Enough is enough.”

Sen. Murray resisted Republican demands to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, yet the deal still clings to harmful austerity measures that have slowed the economic recovery.

In addition to the 1.3 million people who will lose their unemployment insurance on December 28 if the deal isn’t modified, another 1.9 million people would be kicked off the program in the first half of 2014.

But all this harm could be avoided with tax reform, says Frank Clemente, Campaign Manager for Americans for Tax Fairness.

“By closing tax loopholes, Congress could extend unemployment insurance for the more than 1.3 million Americans that will lose this vital source of income at the end of the year,” said Clemente. “By closing tax loopholes, Congress could protect the pensions of federal employees rather than protect the special lower tax rate enjoyed by hedge fund managers. And by closing tax loopholes, Congress could end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs and profits offshore and use that money to invest in jobs and services in America that grow our economy.”

Lawmakers have until January 15, 2014, when the current stopgap funding measure runs out, to agree to a budget and avoid a government shutdown.

Click here to tell your Senators and Representative to extend unemployment benefits for jobless Americans.