Shutdown averted, just in time—and pay increase approved
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Feb 15, 2019
A much-feared second government shutdown for 2019 has been avoided, as Congress and the White House approved a last-minute spending deal on Feb. 15.
President Trump agreed to sign the legislation. The compromise law will not only fund the departments and agencies that were about to run out of money, but will also provide nearly $1.4 billion for work on his southern border barrier.
Relief over the deal began to be heard from federal employees and their union leadership, right on the heels of the news.
“I am glad the adults in the room prevailed,” said Randy Irwin, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, in a statement. “This [last] government shutdown was madness.”
“Another shutdown now would have been even worse,” Irwin continued. “I am pleased to see that our political system in this country still functions well enough to keep our federal government funded and operational. Thank goodness there are at least a few sober minds left in Washington that understand bipartisanship and compromise are necessary to get things done.”
“Shutdowns are too harmful to our country,” Irwin said. “This can never happen again.”
National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement:
“For nearly two months, 800,000 federal employees and their families were used as pawns in a political battle that upended their lives, stunted local economies, and harmed everyone who depends on the services our federal workers deliver,” J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a release.
“Thanks to the collective actions of union members, labor allies, sympathetic lawmakers, and concerned citizens across the country, workers prevailed and prevented another government shutdown from occurring at midnight tonight,” he added.
Also in the bill is a provision for a 1.9 percent increase in federal employee pay.
“I commend congressional Democrats and Republicans for approving a much-needed pay increase for federal workers this year,” NFFE’s Erwin said.
But the NFFE statement noted that the increase was not enough to make up for how far federal pay has fallen further behind the private sector in recent years.
In an added move—one sure to set off additional controversy—the president said he would follow up by declaring an emergency, in order to obtain billions of additional dollars to move ahead on building far more of the border barrier in the immediate future.