Feds already sacrificed to shrink deficit, union says

A federal employee labor union said Aug. 26 the congressional "supercommittee" that is scouring the government for spending cuts should look first to the contractors and the outsourced work that the government relies on before going after federal employees.

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also know as the supercommittee, could find savings by cutting back on functions that agencies perform or otherwise let federal employees do the work contractors are doing, Beth Moten, the legislative and political director of the American Federation for Government Employees, wrote in a letter to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the supercommittee’s co-chairwoman.

The 12-member committee was created as part of the law that raised the nation’s debt ceiling and created a framework for reducing federal spending. Along with Murray, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is co-chairman of the bicameral supercommittee.


Related story:

Transparency rules proposed for budget-cutting 'super committee'


Moten said federal employees have already contributed to the debt reduction. They cannot get raises for two years as it stands now. She also said federal employees are worse off than private-sector employees regarding benefit packages, referencing a Social Security Administration study that found federal employees’ retirement plans lag behind some private-sector employees’ plans.

"They have already done their share," Moten wrote.

Moten asked Murray to consider a cap on contractor pay at $200,000 a year, like federal employees. A company's top executives now can charge the government as much as $700,000.

“If that is good enough for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, then it should be good enough for his department’s contractors,” Moten wrote.

In another area, she said legislators should look at service contracts as a source for cuts.

Agency officials should be forced to get rid of contractors, who are performing a service for an agency, before federal employees. Moten said contractors should go first because of the rationale for service contracts, which is “disposability.”

The union said it didn’t want to go so far as to promote insourcing or advance that agenda. But AFGE wants the supercommittee to avoid privatization. Some state and local government have had to go that route, and the union believes it will hurt them in the long run. Moten reminded Murray of several provisions in law to stifle possible efforts by "pro-privatizers."

In sum, Moten said federal employees should not take the brunt of cuts.

“The federal workforce had no part in creating the budget problems that Congress is trying to address, and undermining their livelihoods should play no part in resolving these problems,” Moten wrote.

About the Author

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

Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.