New bill seeks federal workforce cuts, other spending reductions

Bill would cut size of the federal workforce by 15 percent.

House Republicans today introduced a bill to cut federal spending by an estimated $2.5 trillion over 10 years and eliminate many programs. Once again, the federal workforce is in the crosshairs --  the bill eliminate automatic pay increases for the federal civilian workforce for five years and cut the workforce by 15 percent through attrition.

The measure would hold non-security discretionary funding in the fiscal 2011 continuing resolution to fiscal 2008 levels and would lower non-defense discretionary spending to fiscal 2006 levels for the rest of the decade-long budget window. The adjustments would save $80 billion, according to the Republican Study Committee, a conservative group of House members.

The legislation would allow agencies to hire one new worker for every two workers who leave federal employment until the government meets the 15 percent reduction target. Another bill introduced recently proposed a 10 percent reduction to the federal workforce over 10 years. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), who now heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy Subcommittee, is making reductions to the federal paayroll a top priority.

The Republicans want to cut many federal programs, including the National Institutes of Standards and Technology’s Technology Innovation Program, which helps businesses and non-profit research firms with funding. The study committee estimates a savings of $70 million annually if the program were killed.

The bill would end the prohibition on competitive sourcing, which pits both public employees and private companies against each other to win government work. The policy under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 was banned by the previous Democrat-controlled Congresses. The Republicans also are seeking to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act, which deals with paying wages for work on public construction projects.


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Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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Reader comments

Tue, Jan 25, 2011

Yes, go ahead, cut my job so I can go on welfare and YOU Representative Ross can 100% support me and my family of 5 instead of me trying to earn my wages and pay for my own health care. I'd be happy to sit at home all day and follow all the legislation you pass so you don't have a job come next election time. Voting is still free and YOU can not CUT that! Just remember what the vote gave YOU can also be taken away!! Too bad you're eyes won't ever read this. Perhaps I'll just email your office, then again you probably won't read that either. You're far too busy trying to figure out how to save your damn wages by letting the people go who earn less than 50,000 a year! Try supporting a family on that amount !! I welcome any of you Republicans to come visit me at my home and see how I really live. But hey no worries. I'll have welfare. :)

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 Beel VA

And people say it doesn't matter which party you vote for--??!!

Fri, Jan 21, 2011

I hope this bill includes a reduction in the staff for ALL Congressmen and Senators, not just for those unworth agency employees.

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 John Fed slave

Are they absolutely serious? Do you know the cost to national security to cut that deeply? Are they even thinking or are they just running budget figures without thinking? WOW! The depth of these cuts are beyond alarming to say the least, especially when it comes to DOD readiness. I don't see the US remaining the top dog in military technology with the way China is coming up, Iran, North Korea, and we are looking to cut budget and move backwards? I'm sorry, this just doesn't make much sense. And couple this with the "contractors" being moved into Civil Services (to reduce costs) with this many position cuts. Where is the logic in all this "thinking"? I simply don't get it, and I find this very worrisome for our country's future.

Fri, Jan 21, 2011

I have two comments on this. The first is the apparent rashness of the decision to blanket set a 1 for 2 hiring rate - this implies that all agencies and all programs are equal but then they look to eliminate ones that, in their opinion, have no value. So we lose the workers rom the eliminated programs and still have the 1 for 2 rate for those that even they must consider to have some value. This does not strike me as very logical and makes me wonder who their golden cows will be? I'm sure that the military won't be affected whatsoever. My second comment is really directed at the pay freeze. For those of you who don't know this about the government worker, you enter your position in a grade and at one of 10 steps. The lover the step, the more frequent the step increase (one year between steps 1 through 4, two years between steps 4 through 6 and three years between steps 7 and 10 for a total of 20 years if I've id'd the years correctly). What this does is allows the individual to be more rapidly compensated for their sharp learning curve in coming into the grade and then evens out the compensation once they have been doing the job performance level for several years. So the ones who are relatively new to the government are the ones least impacted by the pay freeze. It is the experienced worker - the ones who teach and mentor the newer ones, the ones who have the institutional knowledge of the agency, the ones who can actually do the work faster amd more effeciently - they are the ones that this freeze truly impacts. Again, I fail to see the logic in penalizing those that are the most capable of performing the work effeciently...and isn't that the battle cry of the Republican party - that government is inherently inefficient? Seems like we have a conflict here, yes?

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