FMA NATIONAL PRESIDENT SPEAKS OUT AGAINST DAMAGING HOUSE BUDGET - March 26, 2015
Alexandria, VA: The U.S. House of Representatives adopted its Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Resolution (H. Con. Res 27) yesterday, detailing its spending priorities for the next ten years. The budget blueprint includes $318 billion in cuts to the federal workforce through: extreme increases to retirement contributions; attrition; reductions to returns within the Thrift Savings Plan; changes to the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan; and, other cuts to pay and benefits. Patricia Niehaus, National President of the Federal Managers Association, expressed her strenuous opposition to this budget plan in remarks below:
"Legislators are touting this budget plan as their 'vision for the future,' which is apparently a dystopian society with a decimated civilian workforce that is unable to provide necessary services to the country. If Congress's intent is to weaken national security, hinder delivery of social security checks and tax returns, and jeopardize America's way of life, this is the perfect budget to do it.
"It includes a 10 percent reduction in the federal workforce, hiring one person for every three who leave. This begs for inefficiency, delays in providing services, and ineffectiveness throughout the federal government. It is simple mathematics: asking one person to do the job of three is unsustainable and will quickly result in a severe decrease in mission accomplishment. Americans rely on a federal workforce that has the human resources available to ensure food safety, care for our elderly and veterans, and protect the homeland. The federal government cannot accomplish these tasks with a diminished staff.
"This lopsided budget resolution once again targets the pay and benefits of the hard working men and women who simply carry out the laws that Congress adopts. The increases to pension contributions is effectively a permanent six percent pay cut. It is well known that federal employees have disproportionately shouldered the burden of deficit reduction through the three year pay freeze, increases to pension contributions for new hires, sequestration furloughs, and the uncertainty of the October 2013 government shutdown. The federal workforce has done its part to combat the deficit. Further concerning is the provision targeting the G Fund of the Thrift Savings Plan, which is nothing short of astonishing. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board said the change to the investment return would render the G Fund 'virtually worthless.'
"Recruitment and retention are already problems facing the federal workforce, as the private sector can offer far more in the way of pay and benefits. Enacting these proposals would further eliminate the notion of the federal workforce as a 'model employer.' Too many of the best and the brightest do not consider civil service and this will drive current federal employees into retirement as soon as possible. It is even more troubling because the federal workforce is the largest employer of our nation's veterans who want to continue to serve their fellow citizens.
"We need to sit down and have a frank discussion of what we want and expect from our federal government, and appropriately fund our missions and priorities, and the people who carry them out. It is unacceptable to expect the federal workforce to accomplish its critical missions without sufficient resources and investment in these men and women. Congress regularly refers to the need to operate the federal government like a business. But if any business budgeted the way H. Con. Res 27 does, by attacking its workers and their earned benefits, the business would sink.
"Congress should applaud and build up those who answer the noble call to civil service. The Federal Managers Association will continue to advocate passionately for all managers in the government and strive for excellence within the entire federal workforce."