By Erik Wasson - 11/07/13 11:08 AM EST
Unions warn Ryan, Murray against cuts
Federal and postal worker unions have warned the leaders of the new budget conference committee not to cut pay and benefits as they search for a budget deal by Dec. 13.
“We are unwaveringly opposed to further sacrifices from federal employees to undo the congressionally-created crisis of sequestration. Cutting federal employee pay through increased retirement contributions must not be a topic for further discussion to resolve these crises. The federal community has given its fair share already,” the Federal-Postal Coalition wrote.
The coalition, which is made up of 31 worker and retiree unions, told House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) that they must avoid another shutdown in January by looking elsewhere.
“The economic impact of the government shutdown, in conjunction with FY13 sequestration-level funding, upon the nation was significant for citizens, businesses and federal employees alike. Our country’s economic viability stands to further suffer with the continuation of sequestration into FY14,” the coalition letter sent Wednesday states.
The $91 billion in sequester cuts should be replaced, the coalition argues, but not by hurting federal workers.
“Over the past three years, federal employees have contributed more than $114 billion over 10 years toward deficit reduction. Their sacrifices have included three years of pay freezes and a 2.3 percent increase in retirement contributions for newly-hired federal employees,” it states. “Enough is enough.”
The Ryan-Murray conference committee is set to meet again Nov. 13. Appropriators have been pushing the conference to come up with a budget deal by Thanksgiving recess so that a giant omnibus spending bill, with detailed instructions for agencies, can be put in place by the time the current stopgap bill runs out Jan. 15.