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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after speaking to the National Treasury Employees Union at a Capitol Hill rally:
“Civil servants are the engine that moves us forward as a nation. The dedicated men and women who serve the public work hard to maintain our quality of life. Our government could not function without them.
“Quite frankly, these are not the friendliest of times for federal civilian employees. I am here this afternoon to tell you that I will do everything I can in Congress to make sure your interests are heard.
“We have a busy and important year ahead of us. If ever there was a time for federal employees to be united in a cause, it is this year.
“First and most important, we must fight – and defeat – the Bush administration’s misguided and reckless proposal to gut the civil service system. I am particularly troubled by the new personnel regulations at the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense that the administration wants to extend government-wide. These rules will significantly limit basic employee rights and protections, including collective bargaining rights of employees.
“We must resist this administration’s efforts to weaken collective bargaining rights and civil service protections. These rights and protections are all we have to ensure your work is compensated fairly and performed in a professional, non-partisan manner.
“We must also ensure that federal civilian employees receive the same 3.1 % annual salary adjustment that President Bush has proposed for the military in 2006. President Bush’s proposal to provide only 2.3% to federal civilian employees is simply unacceptable. I have expressed my commitment to ‘pay parity’ and am hopeful we will prevail, as we did this year, in achieving it.
“As you visit offices this week, please urge Members to support H. Con. Res. 40. This legislation, which I introduced last month, will send a strong message that pay parity is essential.
“We must also be vigilant on the administration’s A-76 outsourcing initiatives. As you know, we did not succeed in rolling back these initiatives in the 2005 appropriations process. ‘Competitive outsourcing’ can work only when competition between federal employees and private contractors takes place on a level playing field.
“We must also address the issue of increasing insurance premiums. One of the incentives for working for the federal government is affordable, comprehensive insurance coverage.
“Earlier this month I introduced H.R.633 in the House that would control the rising cost of premiums by increasing the government’s contribution to the federal employees health benefits programs. Please urge your representatives to support H.R. 633.
“The best way to deliver public services efficiently and save taxpayer money is to attract and retain the best and brightest to government service. That is the message I have sent to the White House and this Congress. With your energy, we can succeed.”