Workforce Wonk

By Alyah Khan

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Feds feel attacked in recent workforce proposals

House Republicans are taking direct aim at the federal workforce as they look to slash the nation’s domestic spending. So far, three pieces of legislation have been introduced this month that include provisions related to federal employees among their long list of spending cuts.

The latest bill to come down the pipeline was introduced today by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chair of the Republican Study Committee. Jordan’s Spending Reduction Act would cut the federal workforce by 15 percent through attrition by allowing only one new federal worker for every two who quit. The bill would also freeze automatic pay raises for government employees for five years.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) proposed a somewhat similar bill earlier in the month. Brady’s bill would cut the federal workforce by 10 percent over the next decade through attrition and freeze civilian employee pay for a total of three years. Both steps were recommended by the president’s bipartisan debt commission.

Another piece of recent legislation introduced by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo) would require federal civilian employees take a nonconsecutive two-week furlough in 2012. Exceptions would be provided for those who work in positions of national security, public health and law enforcement.

Federal employee unions have moved quickly to condemn any cuts to the workforce, as well as Coffman’s proposed furloughs.

William Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, noted that a slew of “anti-federal worker proposals” have appeared since the Republicans took control of the House.

Some of our readers, based on comments they wrote on our stories, are clearly not happy with Congress.

“Senators and members of Congress put the nation in this predicament,” one commenter wrote. “We had no voice in the decision-making process. Why is only the federal workforce being asked to sacrifice?”

David from Texas wrote, “Brady just found an easy group to take to the cleaners. But, keep this in mind Mr. Brady, the average government employee didn’t create this mess, it was you, the politicians.” 

Although the bills introduced by Brady and Coffman also include trimming the salaries of members of Congress, it’s unclear if this will be enough to quell federal workers’ discontent about potential cuts.

Posted by Alyah Khan on Jan 20, 2011 at 12:20 PM


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