Bethesda, MD – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Budget and Finance committees, today answered questions from employees at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) headquarters. The town hall is the latest in Senator Cardin’s outreach to federal workers who have been directly affected by the recent budget crisis. The majority of the session was dedicated to Q&A from the NIH employees on the federal budget, BRAC, and other issues of concern.
“I am proud of the contribution our federal workforce makes to our nation, making sure that Americans are healthy, safe, and informed. During these tough economic times, we all need to share in the sacrifices but federal employees have already given much. They did not create the federal deficits now plaguing the nation and they should not be asked to shoulder an unfair burden for reducing the deficit,” said Senator Cardin. “We need to deal with our debt; there is no question about that. But we need a credible, comprehensive plan that does not balance the budget just by cutting discretionary spending. So I am pleased that the recently enacted budget agreement provides some real protections against a further erosion of the compensation for federal workers.”
In January, it was announced that there would be a two-year pay freeze for the federal workforce. Senator Cardin has been a vocal opponent of additional cuts in compensation for federal workers. The recent budget agreement, which includes $1 trillion in cuts and additional cuts that would be triggered if Congress does not enact a budget plan developed by a bicameral, bipartisan Joint Committee, protects federal workers from increased contributions to their pensions.
Senator Cardin added on BRAC: “As a delegation, we have been united in our efforts to ensure federal support for the growing federal facilities in Bethesda. The thousands of new jobs for the community is welcome news, but traffic will be a legitimate problem. I am pleased that we have secured funding for much-needed transportation upgrades to meet the needs of those traveling to or near NIH and the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center across Rockville Pike, but it the upgrades will take time as federal, state and local partners work together on the improvements to local roads and metro facilities. I urge patience as this process continues.”