Cutting federal payroll is top priority for new subcommittee chairman

Freshman Rep. Dennis Ross proposed workforce reductions during campaign

Cutting the federal workforce will likely be a primary topic of debate for the House subcommittee that oversees federal workers, according to the panel’s new chairman.

Freshman 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, told the Washington Post recently that cuts to the federal payroll will be his first focus.

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Full committee chair Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he wants Ross to explore how to build a “21st century workforce that no longer grows itself at the expense of private sector job creation, and gets more done with less,” the Post wrote.

Ross, a former in-house counsel for Walt Disney World and a Tea Party-backed House candidate, proposed reductions in the federal workforce during his campaign.

In a document outlining his policy positions, Ross proposed offering federal workers buyouts for early retirement or automation such as the Postal Service did in 2009.

He also proposed “zero-based budgeting” for all federal agencies and continuous investigation into outdated government programs and wasteful spending.

House Republicans have introduced legislation to freeze federal civilian employee pay for a total of three years, reduce the size of the federal workforce by 10 percent or force those employees to take a two-week unpaid furlough next year.

Ross said in an interview with the Post that his subcommittee will consider these proposals by gathering facts and not by pushing a “hidden agenda.” Ross said he wants to “ask a lot of questions” and “get a lot of experts testifying before us” to understand how to deliver benefits to active and retired federal employees in a cost-effective manner, according to the Post.

Although Ross said he is excited about his new role, he admitted during the Post interview that he knows little about the federal workforce.

Another freshman, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), the House’s second youngest member, will serve as Ross’s vice chairman.

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) has been named as the subcommittee’s ranking member.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

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Reader comments

Mon, Jan 24, 2011

This greenhorn needs to understand that less will be done with less.

Mon, Jan 24, 2011 Jim FL

While most posts are centered around maligning Rep. Ross, I actually feel sorry for him. Someone has talked the rookie into a lose-lose situation. If he succeeds and cuts the workforce (unlikely), he ticks off his constituents and doesn't get re-elected. If he fails his opponents will use it to show how he is incompetent resulting in him not getting re-elected. His only saving grace may be if he has limited success but doesn't cut any jobs in FL. In other words, typical politics. Full Disclosure: Although I'm from FL, Mr. Ross is not from my district.

Mon, Jan 24, 2011 Houston, TX

Hello... he definitely knows nothing about the Federal workforce. Or the Postal Service for that matter. He evidently does not know that USPS does not receive any tax money, even though we are regulated to the hilt by the government. If we were allowed to operate more as a business without the constraints, we wouldn't need help. We are not allowed to ask for a bailout, we have to cut our workforce, wages, facilities, etc. Of course, the consumer knows nothing of this, they only see Post Offices closing in their areas. WAKE UP big brother... we don't cost you a dime. Stamps, postage, and retail items pay for it all. And we are still the most efficient and cheapest in the world.

Fri, Jan 21, 2011

Maybe Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) should actually talk to some of the Federal workers who have had to take on the work of all the contractors that have been released and federal employees that have retired and not been replaced due to budget cuts over the past 5 years. I'm now responsible for the work previously done by myself and 3 contractors and it is impacting my health due to the stress of not having enough staff to perform the work still required. And now along with all the additional medical bills I have, our CoLIs have been frozen and they want to give us 10 day furloughs. I don't make 1/2 of what my industry counterparts make (my coontractors make more than I do!!!) and if this keeps up the Government won't have me to work as slave labor for much longer, I'll take one of those offers I've had from the private sector. I work for the Federal Government because I believe in doing a service for my country but only if I can live and be healthy which apparently the Republicans don't care about.

Fri, Jan 21, 2011

Pay freezes, furloughs, benefit cuts. No problem reducing the number of FEDs with that agenda. Just be prepared to have a the leftovers being least common denominator clock punchers. The Federal government will become the uninformed perception that Rep. Ross and his ilk are projecting -- the employer of last resort. As a taxpayer, I want to have my taxes buying the best talent available to provide excellence in service to the Nation. The workforce is an asset, not an expense!

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