President of Largest Federal Employees Union Names Top Priorities Following Midterm Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 5, 2014

Contact:Tim Kauffman
202-639-6405/202-374-6491
kaufft@afge.org

President of Largest Federal Employees Union Names Top Priorities Following Midterm Election

Full-year government funding, end to sequestration, fair wages for government workers top list

WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement:

“First off, I want to thank all of the AFGE members, staff and supporters who rallied to get out the vote during the election. Our activists made tens of thousands of phone calls, knocked on doors from one end of the country to the other, and made their voices heard at the ballot box.

“What happened Tuesday is just the beginning of what we already knew would be a tough two years for government employees, regardless of who took office. The leadership may have changed in Congress, but that doesn’t change our focus. We will work with anyone from any political party who is willing to stand up and support working people, but we will fight when we must to protect the interests of government employees and the programs and services they deliver.

“At the end of the day we’re always going to do what’s best for hardworking government employees, and we’re going to use every resource at our disposal to protect their pay, benefits, and jobs from whatever challenges lay ahead. We are going to redouble our efforts to organize more job sites and recruit more members, so we are even better positioned to fight on their behalf.

“Now that the election is over, the real work begins. We must refocus our energy on building support in the new Congress for the bread-and-butter issues that our members care most about: securing a meaningful pay raise that closes the gap between the federal and private sectors, rejecting further attempts to balance the budget on the backs of government employees, and ending sequestration while preserving the federal programs and services that Americans depend on.

“Most immediately, the outgoing Congress needs to pass a federal budget for the remainder of the 2015 fiscal year that will allow agencies to accomplish their priorities and fulfill their obligations to taxpayers and employees.”

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The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia. For the latest AFGE news and information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

What the Election Results Mean for Federal Employees

What the Election Results Mean for Federal Employees

Keith Lamond / Shutterstock.com

Republicans won control of the Senate Tuesday, with several lawmakers historically friendly toward federal employees defeated.

In Arkansas, Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor was defeated by Republican Rep. Tom Cotton. Pryor sits on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has oversight over the federal workforce. He is one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, but still generally recorded fed-friendly votes.

With Republicans in control, Sen. Mitch McConnell — who was declared an early winner in his own re-election race Tuesday — will become the chamber’s leader. Asked how he would run the Senate, McConnell previously told Politico, “We’re going to pass spending bills, and they’re going to have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy.”

The idea of appropriations bills containing controversial riders — such as measures to roll back the Affordable Care Act or the regulatory power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Environmental Protection Agency — is an unsettling one for federal employees, who could once again face unpaid furlough days if bickering between Congress and the White House leads to another government shutdown.

Bill Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said he expects a Republican-controlled Senate would “wield a pretty big hammer as far as putting together a budget,” adding it could attempt to “do away with entire agencies or departments in the government.”

With Republicans in power, all of the chamber’s committees will flip to Republican leadership. That will likely mean Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., will chair the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Johnson is a conservative with a business background, and has taken an array of positions affecting the federal workforce, from reducing government waste to bringing the U.S. Postal Service through bankruptcy. The committee’s current ranking member, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., is retiring at the end of the year.

Republicans also maintained their hold in the House, meaning Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, or Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, will likely succeed Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Issa — who as the House’s federal workforce point man called scores of hearings targeting federal employee incompetence and agency scandals, and shepherded dozens of bills through committee aimed at cutting benefits and increasing oversight — will be term-limited as committee chair.

Most of those anti-fed bills either died on the House floor or were voted down or tabled in the Senate, but Dougan warned federal employees “may or may not have that same protection” if Republicans control the upper chamber. Still, Dougan said NFFE has friends “sympathetic to issues important to federal employees” in both chambers of Congress and on both sides of the aisle, and he would continue to work with them.

Federal employee advocates such as Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.; Elijah Cummings, D-Md.; Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., all won re-election easily. Two heroes to the federal workforce, Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Frank Wolf, R-Va., will step down this year, but their replacements have vowed to fight for feds as their predecessors have.

(Image via Keith Lamond / Shutterstock.com)

Here are the 12 most competitive Senate races in the country

Here are the 12 most competitive Senate races in the country

By Chris Cillizza,, aaron blake and sean sullivan September 14 at 11:37 AM

Now is the time in an election cycle where the tectonic political plates undergirding key Senate races begin to shift in real and meaningful ways. Millions are spent. Debates happen. People start paying attention.

And so, before we ranked the 12 most competitive races in the fight for the Senate majority this fall, we chatted — via e-mail — with a half dozen strategists in both parties to get their sense of which races are moving where. With a few exceptions, their impressions jibed — private polling rarely lies — and suggested that Republicans should feel good but not great about their chances of picking up the six seats they need to retake Senate control in November.

In pursuit of clarity, we’ve broken down their thoughts into three categories:

1) Races that Democrats feel good about/Republicans don’t.

2) Races that Republicans feel good about/Democrats don’t .

3) Races about which opinion is mixed.

Obviously this is not a comprehensive guide to where the races will end up, but it reflects the thinking of several well-connected operatives who are seeing lots and lots of good polling. (Note: These categories don’t include three open Democratic seats — West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana — that everyone agrees will flip to Republicans.)

Races that Democrats feel good about/Republicans don’t:

■ Colorado

■ Michigan

Races that Republicans feel good about/Democrats don’t:

■ Alaska

■ Arkansas

■ Kentucky

■ Louisiana

Races about which opinion is mixed:

■ Georgia

■ Iowa

■ Kansas

■ New Hampshire

■ North Carolina

Below are the races ranked on the likelihood that the seat will change hands.

11. (tie). Kansas (Republican-controlled): The most shocking entry on our list all year, this one’s a little complicated. Sen. Pat Roberts (R) clearly has problems. Democrat Chet Taylor dropped out of the race, which could help independent Greg Orman consolidate the anti-Roberts vote. But Taylor apparently didn’t do what he needed to in order to get his name off the ballot (litigation is ongoing), so this might be a three-way race anyway.

11. (tie) Kentucky (R): A look at the polling of late in the race between Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) suggests that the incumbent has opened up a mid-single-digit lead. That jibes with what strategists are seeing in unreleased data. McConnell’s team always insisted that once he united Republicans behind his candidacy, the numbers would shift toward him.

10. Colorado (Democratic-controlled): Rep. Cory Gardner (R) is a talented politician. Unfortunately for him, some of the votes and positions — particularly on personhood — during his time in the House are being effectively used by Democrats as a cudgel against him in the battle for the votes of suburban Denver women, whom he badly needs to beat Sen. Mark Udall (D).

9. Georgia (R): National Republican Senatorial Committee Vice Chairman Rob Portman (R-Ohio) sounded very confident about Republican David Perdue’s chances against Democrat Michelle Nunn at a Thursday breakfast with reporters. Recent polls have shown Perdue leading, on average.

8. Iowa (D): It seems as if Rep. Bruce Braley (D) has done just about everything he can to lose a race in which he was the favorite from the outset. Republican State Sen. Joni Ernst’s problem is twofold: She is being heavily outspent on TV, and the idea that she is too conservative for the state is starting to take hold.

7. North Carolina (D): President Obama’s recent visit to the state forced Sen. Kay Hagan (D) to walk a tightrope. She greeted him on the tarmac but distanced herself from him on veterans’ issues. Hagan will continue to have to strike a careful balance as her campaign against state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) rolls on.

6. Alaska (D): Democratic Sen. Mark Begich’s decision to air a TV ad holding former attorney general Dan Sullivan (R) partly responsible for releasing a man from prison who later allegedly killed an elderly couple and sexually assaulted their grandchild backfired, taking a race that was solidifying in his favor and making it less favorable.

5. Arkansas (D): Republican Rep. Tom Cotton’s campaign hasn’t been the smoothest, but it’s looks as if it is going to be good enough. He has led in 10 of the last 11 public polls and enjoyed his biggest lead — points — in a high-quality NBC News/Marist College poll released last week.

4. Louisiana (D): Everyone agrees that Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) will finish far ahead of Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) and Rob Maness (R) in the Nov. 4 jungle primary. The problem for Landrieu is that no one thinks she will break the 50 percent mark, meaning that she will have to face off against the second-highest vote-getter — almost certainly Cassidy — in a Dec. 6 runoff. The runoff electorate — particularly if control of the Senate is at stake — isn’t going to be a friendly one for Landrieu.

3. West Virginia (D): Of the three open Democratic seats on our list where Mitt Romney won in 2012, West Virginia appears to be Democrats’ best chance of pulling off an upset. But that’s not saying much because the other two are virtual locks to flip Republican. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polling in this race shows Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) leading Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) by 19 points.

2. South Dakota (D): National Democrats have written off their nominee, Rick Weiland, from the outset. But there was a really interesting poll last week. The survey, from the automated-polling firm SurveyUSA, showed former governor Mike Rounds (R) leading Weiland 39 percent to 28 percent, with former GOP senator Larry Pressler (I) at 25 percent. In a race without Pressler, though, Weiland would be within the margin of error against the once-popular former governor.

1. Montana (D): Little-known state Rep. Amanda Curtis (D) is the replacement nominee for Sen. John Walsh (D), who dropped out over a plagiarism scandal. She’s no match for Rep. Steve Daines (R), who is firmly in control of this race.

In 2014 midterms, parties see different issues and states as path to Senate majority

In 2014 midterms, parties see different issues and states as path to Senate majority

Video: Americans for Prosperity “wants to hold accountable” Democrats who support Obamacare. But how? The group’s president, Tim Phillips explains.

By and , Updated: Thursday, February 20, 6:42 AM E-mail the writers

At the headquarters where Republicans are plotting their takeover of the Senate, camouflage netting hangs from the ceiling and walls. Military surplus sandbags are piled up around operatives’ desks. And an ex-Marine named Ward Baker rattles off statistics that add up to trouble for Democrats.

“Our mentality is that we are at war every day,” said Baker, who as political director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee is helping command the 2014 midterm campaigns. “We’re here for one reason: to win the majority. Anything else is a failure.”

Hatch Act and Federal Employees

2014 is an election year and it is essential that as Federal employees, we adhere to the Hatch Act.

What is the Hatch Act?   Originally passed in 1939, this United States federal legislation prohibits federal employees, employees of the District of Columbia and certain employees of state and local governments from engaging in partisan political activity.

In 1993, the Act was substantially amended.  The 1993 amendments, 5 U.S.C.S. §§ 7321-7326, clarified the rights of federal employees and permit most federal employees to take an active part in partisan political management and partisan political campaigns.  While federal employees are still prohibited from seeking public office in partisan elections, most employees are free to work, while off duty, on the partisan campaigns of the candidates of their choice.  However, a small group of federal employees are subject to greater restrictions and continue to be prohibited from engaging in partisan political management and partisan political campaigns. The Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C.S. §§ 7321-7326, forbids employees of the United States and its agencies, generally, from politicizing the work place.  The Act bars only the misuse of official authority or influence, and misuse of work place and official duties.

Hatch Act and Federal Employees Continue reading “Hatch Act and Federal Employees”

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