With less than two weeks to prevent the automatic spending cuts imposed by sequestration, I was extremely disappointed that the House wasted time this week on legislation that once again targets hard-working federal employees by freezing their pay for the third year in a row. This bill did nothing to address sequestration, despite the painful impact it would have on our community if Congress does not take action by March 1.
I’m proud to represent more than 62,000 federal workers in the Fifth District, and they are among 2.14 million federal employees in communities across the country who defend our nation, protect our borders, keep our consumers safe, conduct life-saving research, serve our veterans, and perform so many important duties for the American people. These public servants are the only working Americans who have been asked to contribute toward deficit reduction and have already contributed $103 billion. It is simply unfair and unwise to continue to target these working Americans, as it undermines our ability to recruit and retain the highly-skilled federal workforce our nation expects and deserves.
On the House Floor today, I expressed my disappointment that Congress was targeting our public servants, instead of working to prevent sequestration:
“[The Republican Majority in the House] has now wasted two [days] on debate of nickel-diming the people we rely on to protect our domestic safety, our international security, our food and drugs, our health care, our borders… The animosity directed at our federal employees is so great that we have now taken two [days] to try to diminish their pay and benefits. How sad. While the sequester looms 14 days from today, putting at risk, as I said, America's economy, the creation of American jobs, the sense of confidence in our country and the perception around the world that America is a serious country. How sad. How shameful.”
We cannot expect federal employees to shoulder the burden of deficit reduction alone. Congress must take action on a long-term, balanced plan that will prevent sequestration and put our country on a fiscally sustainable path. This week, Congressman Chris Van Hollen (MD-8) introduced a bill in the House to replace the sequester with a balanced solution to reduce the deficit. I am a co-sponsor of that bill, and urge House Republican leaders, who control the agenda on the House Floor, to put it on the Floor for a vote.
Time is running out, and the Fifth District cannot afford the irrational spending cuts that would hit if sequestration goes into effect. I continue to urge my colleagues to work together on a bipartisan solution to avert this fiscal crisis.
As always, thank you for allowing me to share this update with you, and please continue to share your concerns and insights with me by contacting my office or connecting with me on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.