Congress is headed toward yet another manufactured budget crisis after House Republicans today passed legislation that AFL-CIO Government Affairs Director William Samuel says will provoke another government shutdown by making “ransom demands” that are “unacceptable” and “unrealistic."
In a letter to House members before the vote, he called the Continuing Appropriations Resolution (H.J. Res. 59) another case of Republican “hostage taking” of the economy that:
Would harm the economy not only by provoking a government shutdown, but also by continuing the job-killing sequestration cuts through Dec. 15.
The AFL-CIO is urging Congress for a repeal of the job-killing sequester, which would, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), generate some 900,000 new jobs by the third quarter of 2014. Samuel says sequestration should be repealed altogether and not replaced by “other harmful cuts that would hamper economic growth or endanger essential services working families depend on.”
Samuel explains that sequestration cuts and budget austerity have slowed the economy, kept unemployment high and kept wages low. Now tea party Republicans are threatening to shut down the government on Oct. 1 or causing the U.S. government to default on its obligations unless they get their way. Says Samuel:
Shutting down the government or causing a U.S. government default would cause even greater harm to the economy, with even greater impacts on economic growth, employment and wages.
“The very least we can expect from Congress is to stop making our economic problems worse,” he says.
Congress should stop punishing our economy by insisting on the failed model of budget austerity that raises unemployment and depresses wages, it should end sequestration now, and it should stop holding our economy hostage to an unrealistic ideological agenda.
In addition to repealing sequestration, the AFL-CIO is telling members of Congress to:
- Protect Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare from benefit cuts, including the shifting of health care costs to individuals; and
- Eliminate all tax incentives for sending jobs overseas.
For more on the AFL-CIO’s economic platform, see the “Good Jobs, Economic Security and Tax Fairness” resolution that delegates to the recent AFL-CIO 2013 Convention passed.