WASHINGTON – As yet another deadline approaches to keep the federal government open, frontline federal employees are calling on Congress to adequately fund agencies and avoid the anxiety of a potential government shutdown.
The current continuing resolution, which maintains last year’s funding levels more than two months into this fiscal year, expires Dec. 16. Without an extension or an agreement to appropriate funds for the remainder of the fiscal year, significant government operations would cease, along with payroll for hundreds of thousands of federal employee families in every city and state in the country.
“NTEU and the employees we represent are grateful that congressional leaders say they are determined to avoid a shutdown and we hope an agreement on funding can be reached quickly,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “However, it wasn’t that long ago when an impasse forced a historic 35-day shutdown over the holidays, and employees who missed two consecutive paychecks have definitely not forgotten.” While short-term continuing resolutions are preferable to a shutdown, many of our nation’s federal agencies have documented the need for funding increases in fiscal year 2023 in order to meet their missions and serve the American people, and simply extending last year’s funding levels is not sufficient.
“Frontline federal employees deserve to have the resources and staffing levels necessary to get the job done, which is why we will continue to fight for full-year appropriations that accommodate rising costs, additional mandates, growing workloads and new hiring,” Reardon said.
NTEU is also closely monitoring progress on a number of important year-end issues facing Congress and the administration, including a pay raise for federal employees in 2023. Although an average 4.6 percent adjustment is likely, NTEU continues to call for a 5.1 percent average increase, as proposed in the FAIR Act, introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia and Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii.
“Economic conditions have changed and private sector wages have increased since the administration first endorsed the 4.6 percent raise for federal employees, and Congress and the White House still have time to change course and help these public servants keep up with the rising costs of housing, food, health care and other necessities next year,” Reardon said.
NTEU also is supporting legislation to prevent future administrations from replacing our nation’s merit-based federal workforce with political loyalists; and the confirmation of Ernest DuBester as chair of the Federal Labor Relations Authority.
“The previous administration’s agenda to politicize the civil service and weaken federal employee unions remains a threat, which is why Congress needs to expressly ban a return to the spoils system in the federal government and ensure federal employees are treated with dignity and respect in the workplace,” Reardon said.
NTEU represents employees in 34 federal agencies and offices.