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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


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