AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement on the House Republican-forced government shutdown:
The moment we have been dreading has arrived. The House of Representatives has shut down the federal government, locking out 800,000 federal employees who want to go to work to support the American people.
The seriousness of refusing to fund the government seems to elude the members of the House who maneuvered us into this lockout. It’s anybody’s guess what their real goals may be: Do they enjoy creating chaos? Do they enjoy inflicting additional hardship on the working- and middle-class employees who provide services to the American public? Do they hate the notion of letting the uninsured buy affordable insurance or just hate the idea that the government is helping them do so?
Or is this just an elaborate way to destroy the most popular and successful government programs, Social Security and Medicare?
President Obama has promised that he will not negotiate to end this crisis, and we strongly support that position. Recent similar standoffs have been resolved largely on the backs of federal employees, taking away our pay, retirement and jobs. This time, we expect the administration to hold firm and resist the temptation to give in by cutting federal retirement or Social Security. There is no justification for using federal employees to pay ransom.