Proposed bill to cut federal jobs by 10% latest attempt to reduce government workforce

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Proposed bill to cut federal jobs by 10% latest attempt to reduce government workforce

The federal workforce would be reduced by 10 percent by 2015 under a bill introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chair of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, and other committee leaders Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).  The Reducing the Size of the Federal Government Through Attrition Act of 2011 (H.R. 2114) would limit the size of the federal workforce by September 30, 2014 to 90 percent of the level as of September 30, 2011. The co-sponsors say the proposal would save $128 billion over 10 years.

To enforce the 10 percent reduction, the bill would allow only one worker to be hired for every three workers that leave federal service.  The  National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform,” called for cutting the federal workforce by 200,000 by replacing two workers for every three that leave federal service.

Rep. Ross said OPM projections that 400,000 federal civilian employees are eligible to retire provides a good chance to reduce the federal workforce and to lower spending.  “As these workers leave, we cannot let this opportunity to save taxpayer money pass,”  Ross said. 

The bill’s co-sponsors and others in Congress have been very critical of what they describe as an exploding growth in the size of the federal workforce, currently at about 2.1 million (excluding postal workers).  Testifying at a Federal Workforce subcommittee hearing on Rightsizing the Federal Workforce, last month, Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) said “over 180,000 employees have been added to the federal workforce” in the past two years, with an additional 15,000 being requested in the FY2012 budget. 

However, critics of strict hiring limitations say the 2009 workforce level was 200,000 lower than in 1968.  Speaking at the federal workforce hearing, committee ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) cited OMB figures that show 8.4 federal employees for every 1,000 citizens in 2010, compared to 13.3 in 1962.  Cummings said this per capita share is the lowest in 50 years.

The bill’s sponsors tried to address the complaint from critics who say that forced cuts to  federal workforce levels will be offset by more contractor hiring.  They included a provision that prohibits such practices, unless “a cost comparison demonstrates that such contracts would be to the financial advantage of the government.”  However, critics say this exemption would, in effect, allow agencies to replace federal workers with contractors.

Unlike some past proposals to cut the federal workforce, H.R. 2114 does not exempt the Department of Defense or Homeland Security.  The bill would allow a presidential waiver for identified positions or categories of jobs and for war, national security concerns, or if threats to life, health, public safety, or property exist.

 H.R. 2114 is the latest in a series of legislative proposals to limit or cut the size of the federal workforce through hiring freezes or limited replacement practices.  Rep. Lummis’ proposal, the Federal Workforce Reduction Act of 2011 (H.R. 657), would reduce the workforce by allowing only one worker for every two employees that leave.  A bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), the Federal Hiring Freeze Act of 2011 (H.R. 1779), would freeze the size of the federal workforce until the deficit is eliminated.  Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) have introduced legislation (H.R. 408/S. 178) that would require a 15 percent cut in the federal workforce.

It is clear that there is congressional support for controlling federal spending including some limits on the size of the federal workforce.  It is also clear that some kind of hiring restriction legislation like H.R. 2114 will come out of the Republican-controlled House.  But, it is not clear that the Democrat-controlled Senate would follow the House or the president would agree on specific legislation.  So, the final decision on federal hiring restrictions may become part of an agreement the president and congressional Republicans finally reach on deficit reduction. 

By |2019-05-06T16:32:11+00:00June 7th, 2011|Defense Financial Highlights, DoD on the Hill, News, Viewpoint|14 Comments

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  1. Keith June 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Interesting how Congress mandates programs, wants to cut the gov’t workers who implement the programs, instead of having the courage to cut the programs altogether. Makes sense, huh?

  2. Ruth June 21, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Wonder if their jobs are included in HR 2114.

  3. Jonny Q June 21, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I propose we also cut Congress’s Workforce including staff by 10% over the same timeframe. We’ll probably save more than $128 over 10 yrs.

  4. GGG June 21, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I find it interesting they mandated us to convert contractors to civilian just to mandate a civilian reduction. I imagine an increase in contractors will complete the circle and put a smile on industry’s face again.

  5. Laura June 21, 2011 at 11:02 am

    The cost analysis community in DoD isn’t large enough so lets’ take on more contractors to do “cost comparisons” for hiring other contractors? Nice.

  6. Roger June 21, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I would like to know which 10% of the requirements (Jobs) are going with the 10% of the workforce that does them.

  7. Jared June 21, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I think we as a government workforce complain a little too much.

    This country is currently faced with a serious financial problem and we are a large part of it. I say “kudos” to congress for trying to find a way to solve this problem before we are forced to do a RIF or cut programs that will have major impacts. Besides I think every one of us will be fine with 10% more work. The bottom line is that current government spending is not sustainable. The way I see it is that we don’t replace “Joe” when he leave or somebody gets RIF that wanted and needed the job or my taxes become higher than I can stomach. The national debt is so large that Admiral Mullen (The Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairmen) said “The most significant threat to our national security is our debt,”. As DoD employee have we not made an oath to protect this nation’s security? Do not our jobs exist to protect this nation? So please do not whine and complain when our “enemies” are being sought out and destroyed.

  8. Chumlee June 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    just get rid of the liberals. We’ll save alot more than $128 billion over 10 years.

  9. Jean June 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    If they would put a cap on all three service academy intercollegiate coaching staffs the government would save $26+ billion over the next 10 year period.

  10. Tom M June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Having worked for the Department of Defense for more than forty years, I have seen many changes coming about in hiring strategies to meet the current and future mission requirements of DOD. What I have also seen is the grade creep in higher grades(GS14-SES). I believe that this is a ripe target area for reductions when trying to bring spending under control.

  11. Shelby June 21, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Make everyone in the government take a 10% cut in pay, with no pay increase for a 3 year period, and no promotions for 3 years. I am sure you will attract the best qualified people.

  12. Shelby June 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    I work a lot of unpaid overtime, about 20 hours a week, because we have several vacancies, we can’t hire because we dont’ have room. I would welcome a 10% cut in workload, even at the expense of not getting the work done. At the end of the day, who really cares?, not our employer! The work will continue the next day, and so on.

  13. David June 24, 2011 at 7:44 am

    I wonder when they cite number of federal employees (now vs 60’s)if they exclude contractors? I would seriously doubt that there are fewer federal government “staff” if you include contractors.

  14. Frank September 10, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Funny how everyone is overworked yet had time to post their comments whilst on the clock.

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