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NTEU Leader Calls for Rejection Of Employee Firing Bill

Friday, April 12 2013

Washington, D.C.—The leader of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) is urging House members to reject unfair and unnecessary legislation targeting federal employees—except members of Congress—for firing if they fall behind in their tax obligations.

The House is expected to vote Monday on H.R. 249, a bill authored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) which would require firing federal employees who owe back taxes even as they face unpaid furloughs.

NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley pointed out that federal employees are facing unpaid furlough days due to congressional inaction allowing sequestration to take effect, and she noted that not only are members of Congress exempt from this bill, they are exempt from furloughs.

“It’s a double standard that Congress imposes furloughs and firings on the federal workforce yet exempts itself,” Kelley said.

The NTEU leader added that it is clear the Chaffetz measure is unnecessary. There already are sufficient remedies in place to deal with those in the federal workplace who fall behind. And the Congressional Budget Office has said that this bill will actually cost, not save, money.

In addition, executive branch agencies can take disciplinary action ranging from counseling to removal against employees for failing to satisfy ‘just’ obligations, including federal, state and local taxes.

“Congress could take up legislation on tax filing day that would address unfairness in the tax code or the underfunding that is preventing the IRS from eliminating the tax return identity theft that is plaguing our seniors, but instead, they will take up a bill to fire middle class federal workers whose pay they have just caused to be cut, who fall behind in their taxes and, of course, exempt themselves,” President Kelley said. “This is a perfect example of how out of touch this Congress is.”

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

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