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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.
"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
SOURCE American Federation of Government Employees
/CONTACT: Tim Kauffman, 202-639-6405/202-374-6491, firstname.lastname@example.org
/Web Site: http://www.afge.org
CO: American Federation of Government Employees
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