The alliance released a legislative white paper, titled “Concerns Regarding Anti-Federal Employee Proposals,” on Wednesday, the day after the committee held its first public meeting. The paper outlines congressional proposals not yet considered by the committee.
This is another wave of actions by federal employee organizations designed to head off or limit any negative impact on the workforce by the committee, which is officially called the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. As we reported last week, some organizations contacted the panel before it met with the same message now pushed by FWA Chairman William R. Dougan:
“Federal workers are not going to sit on the sidelines while their jobs and retirement security are up for grabs. There is simply too much at stake. We are asking committee members to stand with our nation’s federal employees and make certain they don’t lose the resources they need to keep our promises to the American people.”
The employee organizations see the danger ahead. They are well-organized and pro-active. But it will be a very tough fight in a bout where the basic results are preordained.
The deficit will be cut by trillions of dollars. There is no doubt that much of that, perhaps most, will be in the form of budget cuts. Budget cuts mean agencies have less money to spend on programs, services and employees.
If there is a likely scenario that would save workers from being hit, it’s not clear now.
So, perhaps the best that employees can hope for is to lessen the impact of budget cuts.
Given the current political climate, that would be no small victory. And it would be a victory not only for the union members but for all federal workers and for the public.
“Federal workers provide invaluable services to the American people every day, and they do it at a tremendous value to the American taxpayer,” Dougan said. “They are the dedicated men and women that care for our veterans, inspect our food, maintain our military readiness and defend our borders. Slashing billions more will cripple these vital services and do far more damage than good. Federal workers have already sacrificed with a two-year pay freeze and drastically reduced agency budgets. Piling on billions more in cuts will lower morale, stifle federal services and present a logistical nightmare for federal agencies. It is essential that committee members understand that.”
Another thing for members of Congress to understand, especially those who like to bash Washington, is the potential impact that cuts to the federal workforce will have outside of the capital. Only about 85 percent of the federal workforce is in the D.C. area.