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Christy McGill, Art Teacher - Divide Elementary School, Lookout, WV.

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Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on GOP Shutdown and Debt Ceiling

Finally -- after more than two weeks of government shutdown, with hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work and billions of dollars in avoidable losses -- Republican leaders have stood down.  While it is good news that we have avoided a crisis, we all know that it should never have happened.  No party or faction inside a party should hold our economy hostage to extract political gains.   We commend President Obama, Majority Leader Reid, and the leadership of the Democratic party for standing firm and resisting extortion.

Now that we have survived this self-inflicted catastrophe, perhaps we can move on to address urgent national priorities.  We must pass comprehensive immigration reform, so that 11 million aspiring Americans are no longer second-class citizens and the rights of all workers are protected. We need to grow our way out of a slow economy by investing in infrastructure, creating good jobs with good benefits and rebuilding our struggling middle class.  In order to create good jobs we cannot continue to give tax breaks to companies that outsource jobs.  Building economic security also means making retirement for millions of Americans more secure --  and not cutting benefits for critical programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. 

We desperately need to create an economy that works for all.  The across the board sequester cuts hamper that effort and must be repealed.  We need to focus on big ideas and the future – rather than getting bogged down in petty political battles.  Working families deserve better.

Contact: Amaya Smith (202) 637-5018

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