House GOP bill would slash federal workforce by 10 percent

Bill introduced a week after House hearing on "rightsizing" the federal workforce

Editor's note: This story has been modified to clarify that the target date is fiscal 2015.  

House Republicans have introduced yet another bill to slash what they call the "explosive growth" of the federal workforce. This latest bill would cut 10 percent of the government's employees by the start of fiscal 2015.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced the Reducing the Size of the Federal Government Through Attrition Act of 2011 (H.R. 2114) on June 6.

The bill would allow for one federal employee to be hired to replace every three who retire or leave their jobs.

“We need to take action now,” Issa said. “Office of Personnel Management projections suggest approximately 400,000 federal employees are currently eligible for retirement. As those workers leave, we cannot let this opportunity to save taxpayer money pass.”

Related story:

Include contractors in federal workforce debates, lawmakers urged

Issa’s Federal Workforce Subcommittee held a hearing May 26 to examine the current number of federal employees.

At the hearing, two other Republican lawmakers -- Reps. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Thomas Marino of Pennsylvania -- testified about recent bills they have introduced that would also shrink the size of the federal workforce through attrition.

Federal employee advocates argued at that hearing that the debate over the right size for the workforce must include contractors, whose number and salary levels aren't set by Congress.

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement that if Issa’s bill passed it would ultimately “shift work to more costly, less effective private contractors” and undermine the government’s ability to deliver important services. 

“Rather than yet another attack on the federal workforce, Congress must consider real opportunities to improve efficiencies, such as reforming the federal contracting process,” Kelley said in the statement. “By ensuring federal employees are able to compete for work with contractors on an even playing field, the federal government will be better able to provide high-quality services and save taxpayer dollars.”

The legislation does include a provision intended to limit an increase in contracts if it is enacted, but there is an exemption for “cases in which a cost comparison demonstrates that such contracts would be to the financial advantage of the government,” according to the legislative text.

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Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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Reader comments

Mon, Jun 13, 2011 Erich Darr

Across the board cuts tell the workforce that we don't know what manpower we need in a given office and we don't care. You can't do effective succession planning in that kind of an environment.

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 Mike

Here we go again: keep hammering the federal employees (which is what percentage of our entire nation?). We're already under a multi-year pay raise freeze; there's talk of freezing pensions; tapping-in to military retirement pensions; etc. What next? These actions will have an impact. As stated before: the nation's burden should be shared by all of us in the nation (as best as possible). As a federal employee, I already work non-stop (through lunch, extended hours, at home, etc.). I can only take so much more...I can't stand seeing people in other jobs who actually have time to sit around and talk (and they're getting paid for it)!

Tue, Jun 7, 2011

cut all the federal workers you want, what tasks, projects or mandates will be eliminated? How will these directives be fulfilled? Sure the federal work force has increased tremendously, but so have the number of laws, mandates and departments required to oversee the ever increasing regulations. Either rein in these requirements or expect to merely have a government without substance as all the mandates and laws remain unfulfilled with no one to enforce them.

Tue, Jun 7, 2011

There they go again, the Republican operatives with their smoke and mirrors, shifting the blame on the economic meltdown on feds instead of Wall Street Banksters and Ratings agencies.

Tue, Jun 7, 2011

It makes some sense. I guess it would save about 11.25 billion per year based on 25 years of federal service at $55K per year. Remember that retirees still get paid at 25% (1% for each year of service) of their high 3. The savings are still too small compared to the trillions it costs to run the country. A national 10-15% tax on all goods and services (charities excluded that help the needy ie disaster victims) would make the most sense and scale back the IRS agents needed to take in the national tax. The rich would pay fair share and so would the poor. I don't believe just because you make more you should have to pay more and I am one of the ones making less. Many of those sacrificed earlier in life to go to school and make something of themselves while others sat on street corners. Everyone has the same oportunity to achieve greatness but on a corner collecting welfare for "poor little old you" isn't it. Waste is a disgrace. Get up and make something happen in your life worth while. The governement does need to do more to cut spending. The unemployment should be limited for a shorter time not extended - either find a job or become self employed. Now there's an idea, do something for yourself. Whatever happened to ask not what my country can do for me but what I can do for my country. Eliminate private health care and regulate it to where it is affordable. Someone making $50,000 a year couldn't pay off halthcare cost if they lived to be 150 years old. Look at how well the VA system is working for our veterans and nationalize something like it. $500,000 for a surgery is unacceptable. The same thing is available in another country for $10,000. What is wrong with the system is clear. GREED! When greed rules common people suffer. Don't subsidize it - control what the price is allowed to be in the first place. We do that with Speed limits for the good of all. People who don't control themselves need help to adhere to common sense. It's time to put speed limits in place on education, healthcare, and other out of control private sector stuff too not just the government. Free enterprise to the extreme degree it is today is freedom for a select group and not all. Lawmakers should not get a paycheck until they can balance the budget and pay back money borrowed from other countries. Cutting government employees sounds great but it is only a distraction from what truly is killing america's economy ($900 per month for Health insurance plus copays and coinsurance on top). There's got to be change, oportunity and fair play for all. Now that I've given you something to think about. Do you really think government employees are the problem? It's lawmakers not putting in bills that help americans not be taken advantage of! As an american your credit prevledge is hereby revoked, declined. STOP STOP STOP SPENDING WHAT THIS COUNTRY DOESN'T HAVE. Fair is Fair.

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