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He also proposed “zero-based budgeting” for all federal agencies and continuous investigation into outdated government programs and wasteful spending.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