Connolly Statement on House GOP Budget’s Attack on Federal Employees

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Washington, October 4, 2017 | comments
Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Vice Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, delivered the following remarks on the House floor in opposition to the House Republican budget that unfairly targets federal employees. The full video is available here.

“Ugly is ugly. This is an ugly budget, and it exists primarily to be a vehicle for tax cuts for the already fortunate - the top 1% or 2% in America - at the expense of everybody else and it will hemorrhage red ink for as far as the eye can see. That’s not a theory. That's what happened in the previous massive tax cuts, both under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

“The ruinous aspects of this budget, let me give you one example, and it has to do with federal employees. This budget cuts federal employee compensation and benefits by another $163 billion over the next 10 years, $32 billion of which is included in a reconciliation instructions which I sought to strike with an amendment submitted to the Rules Committee that was not allowed.

“The Republican cuts include higher retirement contributions. The elimination of the FERS supplement, which law enforcement retirees heavily benefit from. Lower annuities by changing the retirement calculation and reduced health care benefits. And a 10% reduction in the federal workforce at non-security agencies, even though nearly all of the workforce increases since 2001 occurred in security-related agencies.

“The federal workforce provides vital services to our nation. It includes those who patrol and secure our borders, protect us from terrorists, take care of our veterans, help run our airports, counter cybersecurity attacks, find cures for deadly diseases, and keep our food supply safe. Veterans make up 31% of those federal employees.

“Federal employee pay and benefits are not the cause of this country's deficit and debt. The federal workforce has already contributed nearly $200 billion toward reducing the country's deficits in the form of pay freezes, pay raises insufficient to keep pace with inflation, furloughs, and increased retirement contributions. We should honor and revere the service of our federal workforce, not denigrate it with the attacks included in this ugly budget.”

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