Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, joined a chorus of House members this week attacking the threat of giving federal employees unpaid leaves to balance the budget.

"I ask you how are we going to retain any type of quality in the federal sector when their morale is toyed with every single October?" he said in a speech on the House floor.Unless Congress by each Oct. 1 adopts budget plans needed to meet the Gramm-Rudman law, across-the-board spending cuts will result that could force workers to take days off without pay.

Many workers in Utah have been warned they may face up to 22 days off without pay. Meanwhile, budget talks have been stalled.

"Has the budget process become so burdensome, so complex, so overwhelming that the path of least resistance is to sequester over 3 million personal lives? Must we hold these employees hostage to their emotions each and every autumn," Owens said.

"I urge us all to get down to business. We must bring pride and service back to the federal sector or we can expect more fiascos like the HUD and S&L scandals. Federal employees deserve better. Taxpayers deserve better," he said.