Fed Groups Offer Tepid Praise for Obama’s Budget

AFGE’s National President J. David Cox AFGE’s National President J. David Cox AFGE

Federal employee groups largely supported President Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget recommendation, though they once again criticized his proposed 1 percent pay raise to all civilian workers.

Obama eliminated cuts aimed at federal employees that he had included in previous budgets -- including a pension contribution hike -- and asked for $56 billion more for agencies than what Congress has slated to fund. The president praised the federal workforce in his budget, released Tuesday, and recommended new funding for training, recruiting and retention programs.

“The president’s budget puts shared prosperity ahead of crippling austerity by raising the minimum wage, investing in public infrastructure projects, closing tax loopholes that benefit millionaires and billionaires, and investing in federal programs that will create jobs and expand opportunity,” said American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr.

National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley also applauded the overall theme of the president’s proposals, including a repudiation of the so-called chained-Consumer Price Index, which would result in less generous annuities for federal retirees. Kelley also praised what she called much-needed funding boosts to agencies like the Internal Revenue Service, Customs and Border Protection, the Food and Drug Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

However, she joined Cox in blasting the proposed 1 percent raise, echoing their previous calls for a significantly larger pay increase. William R. Dougan, national president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, called the plan -- which Congress can still alter or block altogether -- “woefully insufficient” and said feds are nearing a “tipping point.”

“Following years of unsustainable and extreme budget measures, workers are becoming increasingly unhappy with their federal employment,” Dougan said. “We are reaching the point where we are putting federal agencies at risk of being unable to conduct the business of the American people.”

Joseph Beaudoin, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, said federal employees were previously treated as “pawns in the budget game,” but hoped this year’s proposal marked a “first step in reversing this trend.”

As expected, lawmakers were generally divided along party lines, with Democrats supporting the president’s call to further undo sequestration and invest in infrastructure, and Republicans calling the plan irresponsible. One thing appeared clear, however: Congress is very unlikely to heed Obama’s call to boost spending levels to more than it has previously agreed to.

“We have a budget agreement for fiscal year 2015, and the Senate Appropriations Committee will adhere to the spending caps in that deal,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., chairwoman of the committee.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the budget would hurt the American economy and cost jobs.

“After years of fiscal and economic mismanagement, the president has offered perhaps his most irresponsible budget yet," Boehner said.

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

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

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

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