Washington, D.C. – The bipartisan budget agreement enacted today after a brief but disruptive government shutdown is a welcome step toward federal employees getting more of the resources they need to do their jobs, National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon said.
“Congress can now get to work properly funding agencies for the remainder of the fiscal year and the next, instead of being mired in persistent threats of government shutdowns and the wasteful reliance on short-term continuing resolutions,” Reardon said.
NTEU supports the increased spending levels this deal provides to non-defense agencies for the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year and through 2019. The union has been calling for the end of the sequester and the lifting of the spending caps for federal agencies that deliver vital services to all Americans.
Reardon is urging Congress to use the next six weeks to pass appropriations bills that ensure agencies have the tools and staffing necessary to carry out their missions such as securing our ports of entry, protecting consumers from fraud, inspecting food and medicine, safeguarding our nuclear materials, and enforcing clean air and water laws.
“However, we are disappointed that the agreement does not include an immediate funding increase for the Internal Revenue Service, which is currently in the middle of the filing season and implementation of the most sweeping tax reforms in 30 years,” Reardon said.
The statement of principles accompanying the budget agreement includes support for additional IRS funding in the fiscal year 2018, but the agency needs supplemental funding now in order to handle the expanded workload and pay for technology upgrades. The administration has requested $90 million of the agency’s $397 million cost estimate for implementation of the new tax law.
NTEU is also pleased the agreement includes funding for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which helps recruit and retain highly skilled employees.
Reardon said the second government shutdown of the year caused federal agencies to re-issue shutdown contingency plans and forced federal employees to conduct shutdown preparations.
“Thursday night and Friday morning were nerve-wracking for federal employees around the country. Any government shutdown, no matter how brief or what time of night, is disruptive,” Reardon said. “Federal employees and the taxpayers they serve deserve better.”
Some agencies have employees who work night shifts, like Customs and Border Protection Officers and others who process travelers and cargo at 328 ports of entry, around the clock, and IRS employees working overnight processing tax returns.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 32 federal agencies and departments.