Thursday, February 26, 2009

2010 Budget Rings in New Era for Federal Government

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Federation of Government Employees today applauded the Obama Administration's 2010 fiscal budget and stands ready to increase services provided to the American public. "We are delighted to finally have the resources to run our agencies," said AFGE National President John Gage. "This budget is a welcome departure from the 'starve the beast' policies of the last eight years that sought to deprive government agencies and programs of the resources they needed to carry out their missions on behalf of the American people."

While the last eight years saw budgets that catered only to the interests of the wealthy and politically-connected contractors, this budget places the highest priorities on veterans; the elderly and the disabled who rely on Social Security; education; the safety of communities where federal prisons are located; science-based projects to protect the environment; housing assistance; and everyone who buys health insurance and uses health care, to name only a few.

"Although federal employees would prefer to have seen an increase in pay, the equivalent to the military, we recognize the severity of our nation's economic situation, including the crisis for public workers at the state and local level, and understand that only modest steps can be taken this year to close the remaining pay gap between the federal and non-federal salaries," continued Gage. "We also are pleased to see an emphasis on controlling health care costs in the years to come."

"Federal employees are genuinely committed to providing their fellow Americans with the highest quality services and protections. From the Department of Homeland Security's Border Patrol agents' efforts to protect the border to the Department of Labor's OSHA inspectors to the VA nurses and doctors - federal employees are so pleased to see that President Obama recognizes that understaffing is dangerous and self-defeating. They are thrilled at the prospect of additional resources for hiring staff who will be dedicated to serving the public interest," Gage said.

The 2010 budget goes even further, recognizing the harm done by Bush administration's privatization agenda. "Their ideological bias forced agencies to contract out regardless of cost or quality, and at the expense of the integrity of federal programs as well as public accountability. It looks like that may be coming to an end," said Gage.

"AFGE looks forward to this renewed opportunity to serve the American public," concluded Gage. "And we look forward to continuing our work with the Obama administration toward our shared goal of better government."

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