Congress Averts Government Shutdown, House Approves Anti-Middle-Class Ryan Budget

Congress has approved a short-term spending bill that will keep the government from shutting down when current funding expires on March 27.

Though a government shutdown appears to have been averted, the bill only covers six months. It also unfairly targets federal workers by extending a three-year pay freeze and maintains the furloughs of more than a million federal employees between April and the end of the fiscal year.

“Simply stated, federal employees have been abandoned by their elected leaders,” said IAM-NFFE Federal District 1 President William R. Dougan. “Leaders on both sides of the aisle had a golden opportunity to give federal workers the modest pay boost they have earned. Instead they got another year of frozen pay and upwards of 22 furlough days. This is completely unacceptable.”

In the meantime, lawmakers are still debating a more comprehensive budget. The GOP-controlled House passed an anti-middle-class, anti-worker blueprint crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The plan calls for substantial cuts to important social safety net programs and would virtually end Medicare as a guaranteed benefit for seniors.

However, America’s wealthiest residents would remain unscathed. With a 221-207 vote, GOP House members agreed to lower top tax rates to 25 percent, providing millionaires an estimated minimum of $200,000 in tax cuts. Instead of balancing the budget, the measure is expected to reduce federal revenues by nearly $6 trillion. Economists estimate the House GOP would have to raise taxes on the average middle class family by $3,000 to avoid adding to the deficit.

“Chairman Ryan offers no proposals to offset the nearly $6 trillion in costs,” says a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “The Ryan budget does not identify a single deduction, credit, exclusion, or other preference to narrow or close. If policymakers truly sought to offset the full $6 trillion in costs by scaling back tax expenditures, they could only do so by increasing taxes on households with incomes below $200,000.”