Kelley Vows Aggressive Fight Against Anti-Federal Worker Budget Proposals


4/6/11: The fiscal 2012 budget proposal advanced yesterday by the chairman of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wisc.), is a regressive document that unfairly targets the federal workforce and would severely weaken the ability of federal agencies to serve the public, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley said today. “I cannot imagine that anyone who understands the important and necessary role the federal government plays in the life of our country and in improving the lives of all Americans would support these proposals,” President Kelley said.

The Ryan proposal would impose a five-year pay freeze on federal employees, provide for a 10 percent cut in the federal workforce, and provide for a significant increase in employee contributions to the defined benefit portion of the Federal Employees Retirement System annuity even though that system is fully funded and in no jeopardy of failing. The proposal also would cut tax rates for wealthier taxpayers by 10 percentage points. “It is pretty clear that cuts to federal employee pay and benefits will be used to offset these new tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans,” Kelley said.

The NTEU leader also took aim at the proposal’s goal of cutting federal agency resources below 2008 levels and holding them there for five years. Such deep and extended budget cuts will impact critical government services and likely will cause longer waits for taxpayer refunds, fewer services to veterans, less assistance for people with disabilities, more threats to our clean air and water, weakened border security, significantly fewer food safety inspections, and more.

“Elected leaders of our national government should stop putting forth the argument that federal agencies can meet the needs and expectations of the American people with even less resources and staffing than they have now. That logic defies common sense and reality,” she said.

On just one of the issues—cutting the federal workforce by 10 percent—President Kelley described it as being more about politics than good human resource management. “Fully 60 percent of the federal workforce will be eligible to retire in the next five years. These proposals which unfairly target federal employees will work to hasten their retirement,” she said. “We can ill-afford to lose our most talented and experienced employees at a time when we are facing unprecedented crises in our nation.”

President Kelley said NTEU will mount an aggressive campaign in opposition to the budget proposal of the House majority.