Yesterday, I joined American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), and other representatives of federal employees and thanked them for their advocacy on behalf of federal workers during the government shutdown. Our hardworking public servants are middle-class Americans who provide important services to people across the nation, and it was unacceptable that they were forced to stay at home, unsure of when they could get back to work and when they would receive pay. At the event last night, I expressed my appreciation to AFGE, NTEU, and others who continued to call on Congress to end the costly and unnecessary shutdown. I also told them we all need to stay engaged as budget negotiations get underway to ensure this doesn’t happen again:
“I want to thank each and every one of you. I want to thank the leadership. I want this to be a lesson all of you will take to our federal employees. If [Members of Congress] think this can be done without impunity, they may well do it again. If they think they will not get feedback, pushback, and act back, they may do it again… We won a very small victory – 90 days – so let’s be energized, let’s make sure that everybody is aware of who, what, when is doing to them and for them.”
It was also frustrating for many others, including contractors and other small businesses, who were affected by the shutdown and may not be able to recover the losses they experienced. That’s why it’s so important that Congress reach a long-term budget agreement that replaces the sequester, puts our nation on a sound fiscal path, and provides certainty for working families and businesses. I’m hopeful we can do so and will continue to urge my colleagues to work on a bipartisan basis toward an agreement. I will keep you updated throughout the process and I encourage you to share your concerns and insights with me by contacting my office or connecting with me on Facebook or Twitter.
As always, thank you for allowing me to share this update with you.