The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Josh Goldstein (202) 637-5018

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on FY 2011 Budget Proposal Up for Vote Today


Laying out a budget for the year's priorities provides one of the rare moments when working people can see with clarity who is committed to creating jobs and restoring our middle class, and who is playing politics.

The deep cuts proposed in the House Republican budget for FY 2011 would cripple the programs ordinary Americans rely on every day - education, from the youngest children in Head Start to Pell Grants for college; food safety inspections; workers' safety on the job; environmental protection; investments in jobs, infrastructure and transportation--all that and more. Meanwhile, corporate CEOs are not being asked for any sacrifices at all. Nor are the lawmakers pushing these cuts proposing to cut their own pay and benefits.

The lawmakers who campaigned on creating jobs are instead pushing an agenda that will cost jobs and is a naked payback to the CEOs who poured millions into the 2010 elections. Don't like safety regulations on the job? Cut the funding. Don't want environmental safeguards, energy improvements or curbs on health insurance companies? Defund them.

This budget-gutting will padlock the doors to essential programs millions rely on every day and put hundreds of thousands out of work.

  • Cuts of $110 million to OSHA and MSHA will mean no job safety enforcement and no way even to investigate fatalities or mass casualties such as those in recent mining disasters.
  • $2 billion in cuts to job training will adversely affect programs that serve more than eight million people per year and will put up barriers to America's workers competeing for the jobs of tomorrow.
  • $50 million in cuts to the National Labor Relations Board will undermine workers' ability to have a voice on the job.
  • $9.5 billion in cuts will further cripple our lagging transportation and infrastructure systems while costing 300,000 jobs.
  • $786 million in cuts to energy efficiency and renewable energy plus $250 million in cuts to energy loan guarantees will cost good jobs and block our path to a clean energy economy.
  • Slashing Social Security administrative costs to $1.7 billion below necessary funding will lead to staff furloughs, reduced office hours, slower claims processing and longer waits for assistance at the very time Baby Boomers begin to retire.

In states across the country, we're also seeing the same tired politics--more cuts for the middle class, more favors for the CEOs who bankrolled the 2010 campaigns of Republican politicians.

Americans expect better. Instead of putting working family protections on the chopping block, what we need is a responsible approach that secures our economic recovery, invests in long-term growth and achieves long-term balance. Let's ask Wall Street and others who benefited from the record economic inequality of the last decade to pay their fair share.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) works tirelessly to improve the lives of working people. We are the democratic, voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions that represent 12.5 million working men and women.