Susan Walsh, Associated Press
This March 22, 2013, file photo, shows the exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington.

In a move that likely is unprecedented, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will close all of its public operations on five separate days between now and Aug. 30, telling its employees to stay home on unpaid furlough days.

These closings will severely impact taxpayers and IRS employees. On these days, taxpayers will not be able to get help from the IRS on the telephone, nor will the agency's Taxpayer Assistance Centers be open around the country.

The closings also will seriously impact our community. Locally, approximately 5,000 IRS employees represented by Chapter 67 of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) will suffer pay cuts from these unpaid furlough days. This will hurt not only employees and their families, but businesses in town. I am calling on Congress to stop the sequester and provide the IRS and other federal agencies with the resources they need to stay open and serve the public.

The role of federal agencies and federal employees, whether it is protecting our air and water; securing our borders; processing tax returns and refunds or helping seniors, veterans and low-income children is far too important to be curtailed by sequestration. Federal employees, federal agencies and our city deserve better.

Jenny Brown

NTEU Chapter 67 President