Apr 14, 2014

Chairman Ryan's Budget Passes House, Unlikely to Pass Senate

The House of Representatives this week passed Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis) aggressive 10-year budget that unfairly attacks Federal employees. The proposal, which Budget Committee Chairman Ryan says will “balance the budget and create jobs,” includes a plan to privatize Medicare, turn Medicaid into a block grant system and cut Federal employee pensions by $125 billion. The proposal would reduce the federal budget by a whopping $5.1 trillion dollars by 2024 by slashing social welfare programs and making new federal employees contribute more towards their retirement among others. The vote passed the House of Representatives by a narrow margin 219 – 205 on April 10, 2014.

Ryan’s budget proposal also aims to cut the Federal workforce by 10 percent by allowing government agencies to hire only 1 employee for every 3 that leave. “This budget proposal is more of the same from the increasingly partisan House of Representatives,” says Adair Gregory, a NAGE Legislative Specialist. “Law makers on Capitol Hill seem to think that reducing the number of government employees while slashing their benefit programs will not have an effect on government services that the American people depend on.”

This budget comes after the self-inflicted shutdown of the Federal government in 2013 causing furloughs and costing the economy an estimated $24 billion. “It’s clear that our legislators in the House are not as concerned about reducing the deficit as they are with stripping the hard working people of this country of their benefits,” added Gregory.

The plan includes additional cuts like eliminating a student loan forgiveness program for Federal employees. A program that has helped thousands of families pay off increasingly expensive college education and will hurt the Federal government’s ability to attract recent college graduates seeking to pay off their loans. Cutting programs for Federal employees will directly effect the quality of employees the government is able to hire and will result in reduced services. Even with a loan forgiveness program, Federal employees receive 35% less than their private sector counterparts making it very difficult to attract capable employees.

Chairman Ryan’s budget passed the Republican controlled House by a narrow margin, but will likely fail to pass the Senate in the coming weeks. NAGE does not support the Ryan budget and will be sending our members periodic updates on the progress of this legislation

Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected. - Samuel Gompers
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