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Federal Employees News Digest : Nov. 19, 2012
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: email@example.com What's Inside44 November 19, 2012 • vol. 62, No. 19 Fed unions reject push for 'grand bargain' cuts Federal employee unions last week con- demned the rising post-election chorus in Washington for a "grand bargain" to reduce the federal deficit through mea- sures that would trim billions of dollars from the federal budget---including cuts to Social Security and federal employee compensation---to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff." Many Republican lawmakers have emphasized their support for such cuts throughout the two years of this Congress---an approach most famously outlined by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in his "Path to Prosperity" budget plan, also known as the "Ryan Plan." But now, with lawmakers from all par- ties facing a second recession if they fail to head off the coming fiscal cliff, federal employee unions are pressing the presi- dent and Democrats on Capitol Hill not to soften their resistance to deep program cuts, because of the inevitable effects those cuts would have on the federal govern- ment's own employees. The 'fiscal cliff' Despite the tide of red ink, many in Congress for years have resisted efforts at adding revenue---as many Democrats and even the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson com- mission's plan have proposed---by increas- ing taxes on high earners and others. But if, by Dec. 31, 2012, Congress and the White House cannot agree on a means to reduce the budget shortfall, about $100 billion per year will be removed from the budget "automatically" by way of cuts and tax increases. The across-the-board budget cuts would put additional pressure on a federal workforce that already has been affected by a two-year pay freeze. The wide-ranging basket of tax increas- es and cuts in programs and entitlements would kick in on Jan. 1, 2013. Since going over the fiscal cliff would destabilize the economy, most observers expect lawmak- ers to engineer a last-minute swerve away from the cliff 's edge before the deadline. Unions, for their part, are strategizing to make sure that the complicated nego- tiations which lead to that expected last- minute swerve don't sacrifice the interests of federal employees. As part of those negotiations, numer- ous labor leaders reportedly met with the administration at the White House last week. Among those present were Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, as well as Lee Saunders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents feds at the Library of Congress, the Department of Justice, the Department of Agriculture, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Peace Corps and other agencies. Also meeting with administration officials were Max Richtman of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and other liberal-leaning groups. A num- ber of top business CEOs met with the White House at a separate meeting. Gridlock, stock and barrel The White House says gridlock must end. One of President Obama's first post-election statements dealt with the fiscal cliff the nation is facing---the possibility of sequestra- tion which could trigger across-the- board cuts of more than 8 percent in just about every federal operation and program. Gridlock on Capitol Hill also means that tax cuts, cuts that most of us have grown accustomed to, will go away. And the Alternative Minimum Tax level will climb and hit more people. Gridlock on the Hill will trigger more unemploy- ment, possible layoffs in govern- ment, and furloughs for tens of thousands of feds. And it will hit government contractors, too. The Senate Democratic leader- ship, which has done its share to contribute to gridlock, says gridlock must end. The House Republican leader- ship, which has done its share to INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • TSOs ratify contract 3 • In Brief 4 • Legal Matters 5 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3
Nov. 12, 2012
Nov. 26, 2012