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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Reader comments

Thu, Feb 17, 2011

I am a Federal Employee and I can't believe that we are being taken advantage of because of the ineptness of the Congress's overspending. It's not my fault. If I'm furloghed who is going to pay my bills? Why not go after all the CZAR's that have been appointed. Why doesn't the Congress take a hit on this one and freeze their salaries and furlough themselves! Idin't help create this mess so why take it out on Government Employees. The pay freeze is at best tolerable, but furloughs, come on!

Thu, Feb 17, 2011

20 years ago I started working for an organization that had 125 fed positions. Today we have 75 fed positions and 150 contract positions. Granted we added a little more work but most of that work was generated by by contracters in other organizations. these federal congressional employees would call that cutting governement spending.

Thu, Feb 17, 2011 RSB Arizona

With these insane levels of stimulus spending and quantitative easing, and possible return to higher interest rates on the national debt, many economists are predicting a period of looming hyperinflation. Imagine the convenience of multi-year protection against cost of living adjustments for the federal workforce while the cost of living rises astronomically.

Tue, Jan 25, 2011 California

I am a Federal employee who just recently (less than one year ago) left the private sector to accept a government position. Where are you or the politicians getting their facts? I took a very large cut in my annual salary to come to work for the government. Why you ask? Because I worked in the private sector for over 30 years and wanted to have a "stable" job not one that the CEO, COO, President, or whomever suddenly decides they want to change the business plan and then I am out of a position. I knew my pay would be lower but thought it would be worth it. What I did not know is that I would a)have to pay for my own parking the job doesn't provide parking, b)must now apply for my own private disability insurance since the government doesn't offer it. And now they want to extend the pay freeze and possibly decrease our health premium portion covered by the government. WOW!!! Why are we being targeted? I think you need to interview some Federal employees in various agencies across the nation!!

Tue, Jan 25, 2011 oh10101

This is US, EU, others. If the 3nterprise is failing, then it is the fault of the employees and management that are the cause of the problems, and should pay for the problems. C*Os (politicians/clergy) are the leaders (as in lead, metal, dead weight...) not the problems and never the cures.

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