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NTEU Leader Calls on House Rules Committee to Reject Proposed Amendments

Friday, January 11 2013

Washington, D.C.—The head of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) today called on members of the House Rules Committee to reject as out of order two proposed amendments to a Hurricane Sandy relief bill that would impose sharp, across-the-board budget cuts on federal agencies and eliminate the transit benefit for federal workers.

In a letter to committee members, NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley emphasized that federal agencies have undergone serious budget cuts in recent years that are hampering their ability to perform their missions.

Moreover, she said, most federal agencies face the threat of an additional 8 percent reduction to their budgets if Congress fails to prevent sequestration later this year.

One of the two amendments to be offered by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) would require cuts of 1.63 percent for all agencies, an action that “would only further impede the federal government’s ability to continue providing the critical services the American people rely on, whether it is securing our nation’s border, ensuring our food supply is safe, or protecting consumers and investors,” President Kelley wrote.

She added that the other proposed amendment would offset the cost of emergency aid provided under the bill “by singling out and punishing federal employees” by eliminating their mass transit benefit.

“Many federal employees, already subject to a two-year pay freeze and increased pension contributions, depend on public transportation to get to and from work, and rely on the transit benefit to provide relief in their commuting costs,” Kelley said.

The NTEU leader noted pointedly that federal workers “have not been immune to the economic downtown,” and said that eliminating the transit benefit “would only serve to worsen their economic situation and undermine the goal of the benefit—to encourage more mass transit participation.”

Kelley wrote that the Mulvaney amendments not only would further jeopardize the ability of federal agencies to provide critical services the public wants and needs, they would “unfairly target employees who have already sacrificed so much in recent years.”

NTEU is the nation’s largest independent union of federal employees, representing 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments.

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