Senator Tells Feds to Keep Fighting for a Better 2014

Jose Luis Magana/AP

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., pleaded with federal employees Monday to continue defending public service, telling a group of U.S. Census workers it is a “fight worth fighting.”

“Stand up for what you believe in,” Cardin said at the town hall meeting in suburban Maryland. “Don’t let them pick on the federal workforce.”

Cardin, who represents hundreds of thousands of federal employees in the state, addressed the crowd to warn of the effects of sequestration and to discuss alternative plans that should be considered.  He said while sequestration and a pay freeze extension are likely inevitable in fiscal year 2013 -- both are included in a spending measure that is on the verge of Senate approval -- he advocated a replacement plan for 2014.

“What we need to do is substitute that in a more rational way,” Cardin said, “and I would say in a more balanced way.”

The senator said he has personally received a commitment from the Democratic Senate caucus to fight for a federal pay raise next year.

Cardin told the Census workers he sympathizes with the instability they face, but remained optimistic Congress could reach an agreement.

“I talk to Republicans every day,” Cardin said. “I think there is a growing consensus we have to get sequestration done and substitute it with a predictable budget.”

He added he has given up on convincing everyone of his beliefs because some people are “not going to have a rational discussion,” but he remains confident the majority of the American people are on his side.

The Maryland lawmaker, who has been in public office for more than 40 years and is an outspoken advocate for federal workers, said reinstating predictability would allow government to recruit better candidates to public service.

“You used to think if you went to federal service you gave up a little bit [of salary] because you had the security of mission and even in tough times you would get the support you need to carry out your jobs,” Cardin said. “Now I can tell you, there are people leaving public service today because they don’t have that.”

Cardin emphasized the importance of Census employees’ work, telling the crowd of several hundred without their data lawmakers would be “flying blind.” He told the employees not to be discouraged by scapegoating by some in Washington. Republican lawmakers do not intend to attack federal workers personally, he said, but the workforce is a casualty of the party’s “despise of government.”

“I came here to say thank you,” Cardin explained, “knowing full well Congress has a strange way of saying thank you.” 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.