In a 332–94 vote, the U.S. House passed a bipartisan budget deal Thursday night that averts another government shutdown and temporarily relieves some sequestration budget cuts but leaves long-term jobless workers out in the cold and inflicts further harm on federal workers, who have sacrificed more than enough to budget-cutting already.
In a statement earlier this week on the budget plan, which is expected to go to the Senate next week and then to President Barack Obama for approval, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the deal “provides temporary relief from sequestration budget cuts over the next two years but does not represent the clean break from budget austerity that our economy so urgently needs.”
Trumka said it is “shocking” that congressional Republicans “have refused to include an extension of unemployment benefits” in the budget agreement. At the end of December, federal unemployment benefits will expire for 1.3 million jobless workers—while lawmakers are home for the holidays.
The budget deal, Trumka said, “unfairly demands more sacrifice from federal employees, who already contributed $114 billion to deficit reduction in the previous three years. By asking new federal employees to pay more out of pocket for their pensions, the agreement undermines retirement security.”