Share |

If You're a Republican Senator From a NASA State, IFPTE and AFGE Have Some Advice for You

January 16, 2019

Dear Senators Cornyn, Cruz, Portman, Rubio, Scott, Shelby and Capito:

As the two largest unions representing NASA workers, The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), and the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), representing more than ten thousand NASA scientists, engineers, and technical support personnel across the country, we are deeply concerned that these dedicated and talented public servants have not received a paycheck in over two weeks. As Senators from States with NASA facilities and significant numbers of constituents working for NASA and going without paychecks, we ask for you immediate support of the House passed legislation, H.R. 21, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019,” to reopen government.

These are your constituents and, through no fault of their own, are suffering acute harm that cannot be corrected solely with retroactive pay. More pointedly, they are suffering needlessly. We can think of no priority more important than for you to take every action necessary within your power to get them back to work and to get them paid as soon as humanly possible. The House has already voted not to hold them hostage to the current dispute over border security. We therefore urge you in the strongest possible terms to do the same. Demand that Senate Majority Leader McConnell bring the House bill to the floor; a bipartisan bill that you all voted for previously this past December before the President inserted his last-minute categorical demand. Pass that bill. Send it to the President for his signature. That is what the Constitution demands. That is what your constituents demand.

We are NOT advocating for you to take a position, one way or the other, on the value or lack thereof, of a border wall. That is something that is best fought out within the halls of Congress while the government is open for business. We are merely stating the obvious: your constituents’ well-being and our nation’s security is best served if the Senate passes the House bill immediately and sends it to the President. The Senate is not subordinate to the President’s whims; you were all elected to serve the needs of your individual constituents, and there is no need more acute than these public servants being able to provide for their families. You must act now to end this shutdown.

In addition to the suffering of its employees, NASA is being harmed on a daily basis as critical scientific and engineering milestones are missed. Data is not being collected and analyzed; designs are not being developed and tested. America is not getting any closer to its aerospace discovery and exploration goals, yet simultaneously China is publicly displaying its new-found ability to achieve space exploration feats that America has yet to achieve! Meanwhile our adversaries are undoubtedly taking advantage of America’s current weakened security posture by trying more intently to penetrate and disrupt NASA’s cyber systems. If America is destined to beat China in the race to return humans to the moon and Mars, there can be no room for arrogant complacency or frivolous political theater.

As NASA’s Senators, we know that you have a more nuanced perspective in these matters and, thus, we urge that you not sit on the sidelines during this pointless and cruel shutdown. End the shutdown now!

Paul Shearon
IFPTE President
501 3rd Street, NW, Suite 701
Washington, DC 20001
J. David Cox Sr.
AFGE National President
80 F Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Joint Letter from IFPTE and AFGE

< View All News