Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014by Representative Gerald E. Connolly
Posted on 2013-12-12
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Mr. CONNOLLY. Mr. Speaker, the bipartisan budget agreement represents
some modicum of compromise, something that has been sorely lacking in
this Congress. It is by no means a perfect deal, but both sides have
made concessions so that we may avert a repeat of the disastrous
government shutdown and begin to restore some of the draconian cuts
caused by sequestration.
For me, and many of my colleagues, this will be a ``hold-your-nose and vote yes vote,'' given our disappointment and concern about yet another cut in benefits for new federal employees. No other group in America has been asked to make the same sacrifices as the dedicated men and women of our federal workforce.
Federal employees already have contributed $114 billion to deficit reduction as a result of a 3-year pay freeze, a reduction in retirement benefits for new hires, and lost pay as a result of furloughs. Thankfully, we were able to beat back the worst proposals to further encroach on their benefits, and I believe this bipartisan deal will minimize the prospect of additional furloughs by replacing some of the sequestration cuts.
Nonetheless, I will continue fighting for our federal employees until they receive the respect they deserve and have earned. I will continue to push back against those in Congress who unfairly impugn federal workers for partisan political gain. And I will continue to protect the rights and dignity of federal workers and the valuable public service they provide to the nation.
For Northern Virginia, which was disproportionately affected by sequestration, this agreement for the first time will replace a portion of those indiscriminate cuts with a more balanced approach. It will actually increase federal investments in research, innovation, and transportation. That in turn will help unleash business investments, which have lagged due to a sense of uncertainty fueled by the political brinksmanship in Congress.
No one got everything they wanted out of this deal. Indeed, I along with many of my colleagues would have preferred to see an extension of long-term unemployment benefits, which has a very direct and significant benefit on more than 1 million families and our national and local economies. Every dollar of assistance generates $1.64 in economic activity in the community. Sadly, it was not addressed here, but we will continue to push the Speaker to bring it up separately to help those still struggling to find work.
Congress faces many more serious challenges in the coming weeks and months, including the need to raise the debt ceiling, renew long-term transportation funding, and reform our broken immigration system. Perhaps this bipartisan breakthrough will provide the model we need to avoid the ``my-way-or-the-highway'' shutdown brand of politics that has characterized the Republican philosophy of governance for the last three years.