U.S. Government Shuts Down in Budget Impasse

U.S. Government Shuts Down in Budget Impasse

Doug Mills/The New York Times

A National Park Service police guarded The Lincoln Memorial as signs were put up explaining government shutdown, on Tuesday.

By

Published: October 1, 2013 WASHINGTON — The vast machinery of the federal government began grinding to a halt Tuesday morning just hours after weary lawmakers gave up hope of passing a budget in the face of Republican attacks on President Obama’s health care law.

House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio headed to vote on the latest bill to link further government financing to a weakening of President Obama‘s health care law.

President Obama met with his cabinet on Monday to discuss how to deal with a possible government shutdown. Continue reading “U.S. Government Shuts Down in Budget Impasse”

Next steps as Congress works through budget mess

Next steps as Congress works through budget mess

  House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. Heat is building on balkanized Republicans, who are convening the House this weekend in hopes of preventing a government shutdown but remain under tea party pressure to battle on and use a must-do funding bill to derail all or part of President Barack Obama's health care law. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. Heat is building on balkanized Republicans, who are convening the House this weekend in hopes of preventing a government shutdown but remain under tea party pressure to battle on and use a must-do funding bill to derail all or part of President Barack Obama’s health care law. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
The Associated Press 1 hour ago.

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As Congress confronts a potential federal shutdown Tuesday and a need by Oct. 17 to extend the government’s ability to borrow money, what to watch for.

—The Senate: Most senators left town after the Democratic-controlled Senate approved a bill Friday preventing a government shutdown on Tuesday. It would provide money through Nov. 15. The Senate’s next session was scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT Monday — 10 hours before a shutdown would begin.

—The House: The Republican-led House approved an initial bill on Sept. 20 preventing a shutdown, with money running through Dec. 15. The House was meeting Saturday and GOP leaders said they would pass legislation by day’s end incorporating their new demands: a one-year delay in the nation’s new health care law and permanent repeal of a tax on medical devices as the price for preventing a shutdown.

—The Senate: Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the Senate would reject the new House plan, citing the health care provision.

In Focus: How Many Employees Face Furloughs?

In Focus: How Many Employees Face Furloughs?

Federal agencies decide which employees to furlough and which to keep on the job during a government shutdown. Excepted employees include workers “who are performing emergency work involving the safety of human life or the protection of property or performing certain other types of excepted work,” according to furlough guidance from the Office of Personnel Management. In other words, they aren’t furloughed. Employees who are not funded through annual appropriations are “exempt” from unpaid leave if the government shuts down.

How many employees an agency furloughs during a government shutdown varies, and tends to depend on mission. In some departments, like Veterans Affairs, most of the workforce stays on the job. At the Housing and Urban Development Department, however, the opposite is true: most employees are furloughed.

If the government closes on Tuesday because of a lapse in appropriations, roughly 800,000 civilian employees will go on unpaid leave. Here’s a snapshot of a few agencies and their workforce data from 2011, the last time agencies had to prepare contingency plans for a possible shutdown. The list of agencies and corresponding data are not comprehensive.

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AFGE Action Network
The House is planning on voting on another Pay Freeze next Wednesday, January 23rd. We need you to call your Representative immediately so they don’t vote for it. Monday is a federal holiday, so we only have today, tomorrow, and next Tuesday to get this done.  The most effective way you can get your message across is to call your Representative’s office number directly. You can find their office number online at www.house.gov. But if you don’t have access to that information, you can also call your Representative at 1-888-775-3148 to tell them to vote NO on another Pay Freeze. Here is the phone script for the call. After you have made your call, please record it here so we know that you have done your part in this fight.

The bill that they are voting on, H.R. 273, proposes to freeze Congressional and federal pay for the rest of calendar year 2013. Congressional pay has already been frozen via the Fiscal Cliff deal that was signed on January 1st, so freezing Congressional pay again is redundant. This is a Republican effort to punish federal employees, and they are trying to pressure other Representatives into voting for it by linking it to Congressional pay.

If this vote passes, it sends the message to Congress that it’s OK to continually look to federal employees as scapegoats. We need this bill to fail in the House, so the Senate understands that gutting federal pay and pension is not an option. Congress is getting addicted to taking from federal employees. We need to cut that addiction now, or they will be turning to us for every budget problem that comes along.

The message we need you to send to your Representative is to vote NO on H.R. 273. Here is the phone script for the call. And here are a few talking points:

1.     It is crucial that one fact be understood—the vote on H.R. 273 will NOT be about a pay raise for Members of Congress.  As House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-CA) acknowledges in his press release in support of H.R. 273: “The President’s executive order would have facilitated a pay increase for Members of Congress. The House and Senate, however, voted down the congressional pay increase earlier this year.” The vote on H.R. 273 is not about whether Congressional lawmakers, who earn $174,000 annually, should receive a pay raise.  This vote is about whether the GS-3 nursing assistant who makes $27,322 a year tending our veterans, and the GS-7 correctional officer, making $38,790 a year keeping our streets safe, should receive a belated and modest 0.5% pay increase after a freeze of more than two years.

2.     Federal workers are on the same salary now as they were in 2010. They are living in 2013 with a 2010 salary. We have already endured a two year pay freeze and sacrificed $103 Billion towards the deficit. That’s $50,000 PER PERSON that we couldn’t afford to sacrifice in the first place. We are not Congress’s ATM.

3.     While government employees are constantly having our pay frozen and pensions cut, contractors have not had to sacrifice a penny.  If your Representative is really intent on saving taxpayer money, tell them to put a cap on contractor pay so the American people won’t get charged $763,029 for a contractor employee. No one in the federal government makes that much money. Congress should start turning to contractor waste instead of targeting federal employees who are already struggling to get by.

We need you to as many calls as possible, as soon as possible, between now and Wednesday to your Representatives. Please make your call to your Representative as a Local President, and ask your Executive Board to do the same. If you can get your Local members to also call, that would be even better. The toll free number we need you to call is 1-888-775-3148. Here is the phone script for the call. Make the call today, and call them tomorrow and on Tuesday as well. After you have made your call, please record it here so we know that you have done your part in this fight. Thank you for everything that you do.

In solidarity,

J. David Cox, Sr.
President, AFGE

 

G.O.P. Anger Over Tax Deal Endangers Final Passage

G.O.P. Anger Over Tax Deal Endangers Final Passage

Molly Riley/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Representative Eric Cantor arrived at the Capitol on Tuesday.

By and
Published: January 1, 2013

WASHINGTON — House Republicans reacted with anger Tuesday afternoon to a Senate-passed plan to head off automatic tax increases and spending cuts, putting the fate of the legislation in doubt just hours after it appeared Congress was nearing a resolution of the fiscal crisis.

Lawmakers said that Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 Republican, indicated to his colleagues in a closed-door meeting in the basement of the Capitol that he could not support the legislation in its current form. Many other Republicans were voicing stiff objections to a plan that they saw as raising taxes while doing little to rein in spending. Several conservatives assailed it on the House floor as the chamber convened at noon for an unusual New Year’s Day session.

The aides said that Speaker John A. Boehner, who had pledged to put any measure the Senate passed on the House floor for a vote, was mainly listening to the complaints of his rank and file and had not taken a firm position on the legislation, though he had clear reservations. Continue reading “G.O.P. Anger Over Tax Deal Endangers Final Passage”

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