Gov’t shutdown unfair to workers

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Members of Congress need to do what they were elected to do and pass a budget that allows the federal government to function.

It failed to pass a continuing resolution before Oct. 1, so most government offices and work sites closed their doors and the vital work that many federal employees performed ground to a halt.

For me, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency employee, that means programs designed to protect human health and the ecosystem will be brought to a halt.

Heaven forbid any catastrophe such as a Hurricane Sandy or even a toxic spill on the Long Island Expressway happens while we are shut down. We simply will not have the resources available to help.

It also means no processing of Social Security and veteran benefits claims, no federal research into disease prevention, no processing of visa and passport applications, no family vacations to national parks or museums. It will also mean that all the businesses that support federal workplaces citywide, such as in downtown Manhattan, will not be receiving income — no lunch crowds to shop and eat at their establishments.

The last government shutdown cost taxpayers $1.4 billion. Federal employees are tired of being put in the middle of these political battles — we have paid our dues — with a three-year pay freeze while our health benefit premiums and taxes skyrocket, sequestration furloughs — EPA workers lost a week of pay this year — and constant pointless cuts to our program budgets.

It is time for others to pay their share — Apple and Exxon, anyone? Holding our salaries hostage to the whims of a few elected representatives is a lousy way to govern.

Paul Sacker

Little Neck

Posted 12:00 am, October 5, 2013
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