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      Sens. Johanns and Fischer Cosponsor Amendment to Protect “Essential” Federal Jobs

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      U.S. Sens. Mike Johanns and Deb Fischer Wednesday cosponsored an amendmentto ensure that "essential" federal employees would be able to continueproviding certain services that face being cut due to budget issues.

      "I support replacing across-the-board reductions withsmarter spending cuts that target wasteful, low-priority programs – it's amatter of setting priorities," saidFischer. "This important amendment will provide executive agencies withincreased flexibility to make necessary spending cuts while also ensuring thefederal government can continue to meet its core duties."

      Johanns added, "This legislation simply givesagency and department heads the flexibility the President asked for so there isno excuse for essential services to be the first things on the chopping block."

      According to Johanns, this amendment would apply identical languageused during occurrences of inclement weather or other government shutdowns tothe sequestration spending reductions at each agency.

      This is the same language used in guidance from the ClintonAdministration in preparation for the 1995 government shutdown definingessential employees as, "an employee that performs work involving the safety ofhuman life or the protection of property, as determined by the head of theagency."

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