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Season 4, Episode 206

Extended deadline for a new government budget agreement approaches



Guest Name:

Darryll Bell

Guest Website:


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President of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 31, Darryll Bell, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to talk about the extended deadline for appropriation bills to be passed. Bell also talked about the issues preventing appropriations from being passed and the fight for funding VA hospitals.

Local 31 has 5,500 bargaining unit members. Currently, the Local is ranked in the top 25 of new membership recruiters in the country for AFGE. 

The U.S. Government has until Nov. 17 to pass appropriation bills. After avoiding a shutdown twice this year, the deadline is approaching quickly, and there’s concern approvals won’t be reached in time. It’s a political landmine to navigate all the nuances of the appropriation discussions, but it does not serve the American public any good to keep coming close to government shutdowns. Bell shared the efforts of the AFGE to get the word to legislators to avoid a shutdown by any means necessary.

The Speaker of the House vacancy is also causing problems with the appropriation bill discussion. Until the seat can be filled, there can’t be productive conversations around the appropriations. Many agencies within the AFGE would be impacted by a shutdown, where the members would have to continue to work without receiving a paycheck. While it’s not every agency, Bell reinforces the severity of the possible shutdown as the situation could change anytime.

The VA has been fighting against a for-profit voucher system proposed by lawmakers. Bell said such a plan would accelerate the privatization of veterans' healthcare. Two recently introduced bills would accomplish that goal, creating vouchers to pay for the veterans' care. He argues that countless records and studies show that veterans’ have a higher chance of successful treatment and receive higher quality healthcare than they would in the private sector. The goal should not be eliminating the VA hospitals but to reinforce, fully staff and fund the hospitals to continue improving the veterans’ healthcare system, Bell said.

To hear more from Bell and the AFGE, please listen to the show above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

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