An update for federal employees
In my last message to you, the federal employees of Virginia's First Congressional District, I promised that I would engage with the groups and leaders that represent your interests. Today I wanted to send you a brief update on those efforts.
First, I recently met with J. David Cox, President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) to discuss the group's legislative priorities for this year. We discussed a number of issues including bargaining rights, dues deductions, and the pay system and raises.
As you know, the federal employee pay and benefits system is a constant target in budget proposals or as "pay-fors" in other legislative initiatives. In 2015, I wrote a letter to budget conferees asking them to reconsider the targeting of federal employees as a pay for in that year's budget deal. In our meeting, I reiterated to President Cox my opposition to this kind of unfair targeting of federal employees.
Earlier this week I addressed AFGE's 2017 Legislative Conference to speak about my work on behalf of our federal employees.
In my remarks, I highlighted my role as the Co-Chair of the Congressional Public Service Caucus and my commitment to building support for a well-trained, high-performing federal workforce. I also spoke about two issues I know are a concern to your community: sequestration and the recent hiring freeze announcement.
Sequestration, as you know, has been harmful to our federal employees and our national defense. In fact, we've seen an arbitrary 31 percent cut to defense spending between 2010 and 2016. And those cuts have hurt operations, maintenance, and readiness, making our country less safe. I promise to do all I can to work with other leaders in Congress to find a solution to the sequestration challenge.
I also spoke about the recent hiring freeze announcement. I am always concerned about furloughs, hiring and pay freezes, restrictions on travel, and limited opportunities for career development that negatively impact workforce morale. In this particular case, I was deeply concerned about the effect the freeze would have on our defense and national security workers. That is why I was pleased to see the Department of Defense exempted those supporting critical military missions and positions in shipyards and depots from the hiring freeze.
I know these are just a few of the issues that may concern you and your family. I hope you will take the time to contact me anytime any issue that concerns you comes before the House.
It's an honor to serve you and Virginia's First District in the People's House.