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Report documents harmful, lasting effects of budget cuts on American public



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-- WITH PHOTO -- TO BUSINESS, AND NATIONAL EDITORS:

AFGE: New GAO Report Proves Congress Must End Sequestration

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report by

the Government Accountability Office documenting the harmful and

long-term effects of sequestration on the American public is clear

proof that Congress must repeal the Budget Control Act, American

Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr.

said today.

"The first year of sequestration forced agencies to slash employment

benefits to millions of unemployed workers, cut scientific research

into cures for deadly diseases, delay decisions on benefits claims for

disabled workers, and forgo billions in revenue due to fewer audits

and investigations," Cox said.

"And that's just the first year. Imagine what will happen if

sequestration is allowed to drag on for 10 full years," Cox continued.

"We have a temporary reprieve from sequestration for now, but Congress

needs to end this nightmare once and for all."

The GAO report, "2013 Sequestration: Agencies Reduced Some Services

and Investments, While Taking Certain Actions to Mitigate Effects,"

documents the various actions agencies were forced to take in response

to the more than $80 billion in across-the-board budget cuts imposed

by sequestration beginning in March 2013.

GAO says "sequestration reduced assistance for education, housing and

nutrition, as well as health and science research and development

grants. Agencies also reported delaying investments such as

information technology and facilities projects. Some federal services

also experienced backlogs and delays as a result of personnel actions

including limiting hiring and furloughing employees."

Many of the effects of sequestration will never be known or are hard

to quantify, GAO said. For example, officials at several agencies said

they are concerned about the impact of sequestration on employee

morale. More than 770,000 federal employees were furloughed for

between one and seven days in response to sequestration, resulting in

lost pay. The longer-term implications of sequestration could impact

the government's ability to recruit, retain and properly train

employees, GAO said.

"Slashing budgets without regard to the impact on citizens and the

employees who deliver the programs and services those citizens rely on

is a vicious and destructive way to govern," Cox said. "Congress needs

to take GAO's findings to heart and come together to end sequestration

before more harm can be done."

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest

federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal

government and the government of the District of Columbia .

For the latest AFGE news and information, follow us on Facebook and

Twitter .

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131120/MM21150LOGO

SOURCE American Federation of Government Employees

-0- 03/07/2014

/CONTACT: Tim Kauffman, 202-639-6405/202-374-6491, tim.kauffman@afge.org

/Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131120/MM21150LOGO

/Web Site: http://www.afge.org

CO: American Federation of Government Employees

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0000 03/07/2014 17:35:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com

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The Associated Press

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