NTEU Leader Condemns House Approval of Sequestration Replacement Bill


5/11/12: The House of Representatives’ approval yesterday of the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012 (H.R. 5652) represents yet another attack on the federal workforce and advances an unfair and illogical partisan budget that fails to address what the American people want or need, said NTEU National President Colleen Kelley.

“The latest budget measure pushed by House leadership assaults Americans’ sense of fairness by undercutting vital services and singling out middle class federal employees to yet again foot the bill,” said Kelley. “Rather than making a serious attempt to address our nation’s challenges, the House has approved legislation that protects our nation’s wealthiest individuals and corporations and asks dedicated civil servants to pay for it.”

H.R. 5652 calls for an additional $83 billion over 10 years in cuts from federal workforce compensation, which represents 27 percent of all mandatory spending cuts in the bill. Employees in both the Civil Service Retirement System and the Federal Employees Retirement System would be required to contribute 5 percent more of salary toward their pensions. While current workers would see the increase phased in over five years, new hires would see the full increase immediately.

“This is the equivalent of a pay cut for federal employees who are already working under a two-year pay freeze,” Kelley said. “And while the federal workforce has already contributed $75 billion to address our fiscal problems, they are being asked to contribute yet again while the wealthiest individuals are not asked to give a single dime. This is not shared sacrifice.”

This proposal undercuts the ability to recruit and retain the talented individuals our government needs, and further endangers the critical services that our nation depends on by seeking to replace the majority of the automatic sequester defense cuts with additional domestic discretionary spending cuts, which would force agencies to cut services.

“From protecting our borders to safeguarding our food and water supply to collecting the revenue needed to address our deficit, federal employees are providing services that protect and preserve the American way of life,” Kelley said. “Yet this budget cuts their compensation and prevents them from having the resources they need to fulfill agencies’ vital missions.

“This bill is simply not in the interest of our nation,” President Kelley added. “I look forward to moving beyond this empty symbol of election-year partisan legislation and focusing on real solutions.”