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Federal Employees News Digest : April 1, 2013
April 1, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 35 3 Visit us on the internet at www.FederalDaily.com "Congress needs to get its act together, give us a budget and let us get back to work and support our troops." "So far, sequestration came and the world's still turning," Ostrowski told FEND. "But soon, unless Congress changes things, it's going to be different. And if we don't do this [protesting], nobody is going to do this for us." Ostrowski noted that, as of press time, DOD had postponed for two weeks lock- ing in precise plans on how to structure the furloughs---but those furloughs are still expected soon to begin on Fridays. Shutdown averted President Obama on March 26 signed legis- lation to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year. The continuing resolu- tion will fund agencies and programs through Sept. 30. The House and Senate had approved the bill the prior week. The CR lifted the specter of a govern- ment shutdown when the current continu- ing resolution expired March 27. The bill maintains the sequester and extends the current federal pay freeze. The final compromise version of the bill that was shepherded through the Senate by Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) also incorporated additional budget leeway for a number of departments, including Agriculture, Homeland Security and Justice. Both of the bill's Senate managers offered hopes that the two parties will enter a new period of cooperation. "Working across the aisle and across the dome, the Senate has come together to prevent a government shutdown," Mikulski said after the Senate approved the bill. "This is an important step in breaking from crisis mode in Washington," said Shelby. "It is my hope that the tone we set in meeting these objectives for the current fis- cal year will carry over to our work on sub- sequent appropriations bills. We must con- tinue to work together to replace a last-min- ute, shotgun approach to reducing spending with a deliberate, targeted process." House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) greeted the CR's passage in the House with less fanfare, perhaps in part because House approval of the fiscal 2013 funding measure came 10 minutes after the House passed a budget blueprint for fiscal 2014. "Our goal is to cut spending and balance the budget to help our economy grow," Boehner said in a statement issued after the vote. "Passing this measure allows us to keep our focus where it belongs: replacing the president's sequester with smarter cuts that help balance the budget, fixing our broken tax code to create jobs and increase wages, protecting priorities like Medicare, and expanding opportunity for all Americans." Senate, House pass fiscal 2014 budget resolutions Now that lawmakers finally have settled bud- get matters for fiscal 2013, Congress begins work on hammering out a budget for fiscal 2014. Both the House and the Senate last month passed budget resolutions for fiscal 2014. The House on March 21 approved its fiscal 2014 budget resolution on a vote of 221-207. Ten Republicans joined 197 Democrats to vote against the bill, which also lays out budgetary levels for fiscal years 2015 through 2023. Before the vote, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) took to the floor to tick off the benefits of the bill crafted by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). "Voting for this budget means supporting the Keystone pipeline and American-made energy, means more jobs and lower energy bills," Boehner said. "Repealing Obamacare and supporting patient-centered reforms means more jobs and lower health care costs for the American people. Protecting and strengthening Medicare means a secure retirement for older Americans. Cutting waste means more fairness and accountability for hard-working taxpayers. Doing all of this means preserving the American Dream, which is what we were sent here to do." After the bill passed, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a harsher assess- ment of the legislation. "For the third year running, not a single House Democrat voted for the Ryan budget," she said in a statement. "The Ryan-Republican budget is nothing more than more of the same Romney-Ryan policies that the American peo- ple rejected last November---yet nearly every House Republican supported it and those that voted against it did so because they wanted to go further to the right." labor pans workforce provisions National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley also blasted the House proposal's effects on the federal workforce. "The new demands on the federal work- force contained in the Ryan budget make a mockery of the important notion of shared sacrifice," she said in a statement after the vote. "Despite their contribution of $103 billion from an ongoing pay freeze and higher pen- sion contributions, Rep. Ryan's budget would have federal employees contribute a greater amount to their retirement and see that federal pay levels and pay increases are trimmed. In addition, it would cut the federal workforce by 10 percent, further degrading public services and harming the American people." The Senate's fiscal 2014 budget resolution passed March 23 on a narrow vote of 50-49. "I am proud of the work we did in the Budget Committee and on the Senate floor to write, debate, and pass a responsible budget plan that puts economic growth and the middle class first," Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said in a statement released after the vote. "While it is clear that the policies, values, and priorities of the Senate budget are very different than those articulated in the House budget, I know the American people are expecting us to work together to end the gridlock and find common ground, and I plan to continue doing exactly that," she said. The Senate budget proposal replaces the sequester entirely, includes a $100 billion tar- geted jobs and infrastructure package, and according to a press release from Murray, addresses the deficit and debt using "an equal mix of spending cuts and new revenue raised by closing tax loopholes and ending waste- ful deductions that benefit the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations." "I spoke with Chairman [Paul] Ryan after his budget passed the House to congratulate him continued from page 1 Don’t miss our discussion of weekly news topics. Discuss these stories and more with your fellow federal workers at www.FederalSoup.com. continued on page 4
March 25, 2013
April 8, 2013