What the GOP platform means to feds

The newly released Republican Party platform touts a vision of a reformed, less “bloated” government, but what it mainly means for federal employees is possible layoffs, lower pay and reduced benefits.

The document, which was unveiled Aug. 28, claims to create “a stronger and freer America,” according to the preamble. Its overall goal is to reform, restructure and rethink the government by taking action beyond merely downsizing government and “having a smaller version of the same failed systems,” the platform states.

“Government reform requires constant vigilance and effort because government by its nature tends to expand in both size and scope," according to the framework. “Our goal is not just less spending in Washington but something far more important for the future of our nation: protecting the constitutional rights of citizens, sustainable prosperity, and strengthening the American family.”

To realize that vision and overhaul the public sector, the Republican Party is proposing the following approaches:

Shrink the workforce: Reduce the federal workforce by at least 10 percent through attrition. Federal pay should also be slashed by at least 10 percent; the GOP argues, and pay scales and benefits should be adjusted to match those in the commercial sector.

Revamp the civil service system:  The 130-year old civil service system needs a makeover to “be sufficiently flexible to acknowledge and reward those who dare to innovate, reduce overhead, optimize processes, and expedite paperwork,” the plan states.

Crack down on late-paying feds: Take a tougher stance on federal employees who are late on their taxes and repaying their student loans. A Republican administration also “will name to public office no one who has failed to meet their financial obligations to the government and fellow taxpayers.”

The doctrine to cut the federal workforce should come as no surprise to those familiar with vice presidential hopeful Sen. Paul Ryan’s Plan to Prosperity. Released in March 2012, the framework proposed tacking another three years to the ongoing federal pay freeze and reducing the federal workforce by 10 percent.

Ryan’s budget proposal also stated the government has hired 147,000 new workers since President Barack Obama took office in 2009. The GOP platform cites the same kind of numbers, saying the civil service has grown “by at least 140,000 workers, while the number making at least $150,000 has doubled.” 

“At a time when the national debt has increased to over $15.9 trillion under the current administration, this is grossly irresponsible,” the platform states. “The American people work too hard and too long to support a bloated government.”

Official figures from the Office of Management and Budget, however, show the rise at only 123,000, or 6.2 percent, according to a CNN analysis.

Colleen Kelley, national president at the National Treasury Employees Union, was quick to point out the essential role federal employees play, and expressed  disappointment in the proposal to reduce the number of those positions.

“Cutting in the federal workforce would undermine the services that the American people depend on and want,” she said in an Aug. 28 statement. “From protecting our borders to safeguarding our nuclear plants to protecting our agriculture, these services are vital to our nation. A 10 percent across-the-board cut would mean that these vital services that the American people want would not be delivered.”

Prior to the release of the platform, J. David Cox Sr., national president at the American Federation of Government Employees, stressed how the GOP approach would negatively affect those who work in health care, food inspection and safety, and border protection.

“Without proper staffing and funding, these government services would simply cease to exist, leaving millions of Americans high and dry,” Cox said Aug. 27. “It’s hard for me to imagine a country that would turn its back on its citizens, but that’s exactly what this GOP platform proposes to do.”

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Reader comments

Tue, Sep 11, 2012 Tom

"A 10 percent across-the-board cut would mean that these vital services that the American people want would not be delivered.” Well, I guess the democrats should have considered the consequences when they pushed through a $940B healthcare bill in 2010 and a $787B spending stimulus bill in 3/09. That there can even be such a backlash as the GOP platform, is the clearest indication the American people have said, "enough is enough". The crazies on the right would not have this traction if the crazies on the left had not hijacked the democrat party. Oh well. Who is looking out for all of us in the middle? Neither party that I can tell.

Fri, Sep 7, 2012 Lowly Fed Worker California

Legislaters, quit playing your brinkmanship games at our expense. A 10% paycut for us? As a GS-7, that equals a $5600 paycut for us , not to mention worse for grades lower than that. That will put a lot of us in economic strife. It took me 20+ yrs to get this far, getting ready to retire, and you want to put me and others in poverty? Facing higher med insurance, pay freeze for 3 more years, and then cutting pay on top of this? That's one he** of a payback. I suggest you revisit this budget and get priorities straight, because the lower grades will take the hit and be hurt the most.

Wed, Sep 5, 2012 Erich Darr

The part of the federal workforce that's been bloated aince Mr. Gore's "reinvention of government" during the Clinton Administration is the number of contractor personnel. They don't get counted.

Fri, Aug 31, 2012

I'll vote for whoever suggest moving a large fraction of federal functions and staff OUT of DC and other high-cost areas. With modern comms, probably 1/4 of the fed employees in DC could work anywhere. There would be a startup cost, but the payback would be rapid.

Thu, Aug 30, 2012 MD Miller Washington DC

Legislaters need to look at the real issues and quit grandstanding. If you eliminated all of the federal empoloyees how much money would the government actually save? The budget isn't in the situation it is now because of the federal employee part of the budget, but because of all the special interest programs and entitlement packages that offer something for nothing to citizens who no longer feel the need to work, but instead feel they are entitled to government handouts.

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