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Fed orgs, unions hope to avert shutdown


Federal employee unions and advocacy organizations are speaking out against a potentially calamitous shutdown of the federal government—which will occur as of Friday morning, if Congress fails to pass a continuing resolution in time to beat the Sept. 30 deadline. 

Concerns have been heightened after the failure of a funding bill to pass in the Senate on Monday night.

The National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) put out its most recent choice words Tues., Sept. 28, pressing lawmakers to move ahead quickly with funding.

“NFFE … is closely monitoring the situation on Capitol Hill regarding government funding, which is set to expire Thursday at midnight,” the union said in a statement. “NFFE has been in contact with congressional leadership, requesting that a clean Continuing Resolution (CR) is passed quickly, preferably today.”

“It is widely believed that a CR will be passed before the deadline and will keep the government funded for the next three months,” the labor group continued, expressing hope, “but NFFE is preparing contingency plans should Congress fail to pass a CR. The passing of a CR is necessary to avoid a government shutdown.:

Another major union, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), has also been telegraphing its shutdown concerns in recent days to legislators, and members and the public to try to get momentum on a CR. 

“It has unfortunately become routine for the annual Sept. 30 appropriations deadline to be missed, leaving federal agencies to muddle along under a temporary spending bill or worse, a government shutdown,” Tony Reardon, NTEU’s president said in a statement. “And now on top of that, some in Congress are unwilling to raise the debt limit to cover spending in prior years, which is adding to the uncertainty.” 

“Federal employees and all Americans deserve a federal budgeting process that gives agencies the resources they need to serve the taxpayers without disruption, and the assurance that the U.S. is not on the brink of default,” Reardon wrote. 

A major federal employee advocacy organization, the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) also spoke up loudly this week in favor of quick action, to avoid the funding cliff. 

“I implore you to pass a continuing resolution as soon as possible to avoid a government Shutdown,” Ken Thomas, NARFE’s president, wrote in an open letter to lawmakers. “Government shutdowns represent a failure of Congress to fulfill its most basic responsibility. They cause needless disruption of government operations, as hundreds of thousands of federal employees are prevented from serving the American people.”

“Even now, as we approach the end of the fiscal year, federal agencies must waste time preparing for a possible shutdown to prevent a lapse in appropriations,” Thomas added. “As a result, Americans, as citizens and taxpayers who rely on federal services, lose.” 

The hard deadline for funding, and the consequences of failing to do so, many federal employee advocates and Hill observers hope, will lead to a thumbs-up vote on a CR just in time to avert the crisis. 

 

2021 Digital Almanac

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