Bills at the ready to achieve Trump's workforce goals

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised to institute a federal hiring freeze and reduce the workforce through attrition. Here's how it might happen.

man planning layoffs

Late in his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump released a blueprint for the first 100 days of his administration, dubbing it the "Contract with the American Voter." The set of promises includes a pledge to reduce the federal workforce through a hiring freeze on all employees not involved in military, public safety or public health functions.

Curbs on federal hiring and workforce benefits have long been a staple of the Republican Party agenda. The 2016 party platform has several planks that call for measures to make it easier for government executives to discipline and fire problem workers, rein in "extraordinary pension benefits and vacation time wildly out of line with those of the private sector," and requiring all federal employee union activity to be done on personal time and not work time.

Further, the platform calls for a congressional review of federal employee unionization writ large "to examine its effects on the cost, quality and performance of civil service."

It so happens there are a raft of bills fresh from the 114th Congress that could be introduced early in the Trump presidency to accomplish his workforce goals.

Perhaps the most on-the-nose item is the Federal Workforce Reduction Through Attrition Act. The bill from retiring Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) would cap the federal workforce at 90 percent of the total number of federal employees on the books at the end of fiscal 2013. The limits would be achieved by attrition or a freeze on hiring. The bill also calls for a reduction in the procurement of service contracts to make sure the functions of the reduced federal workforce aren't farmed out to contractors. The bill languished in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and only attracted eight cosponsors.

Bill Valdez, president of the Senior Executives Association, said top civil servants are well equipped to know how to trim the size of government, if necessary. Members of the Senior Executive Service "are the ones who know how agencies function, what the critical functions are that you need to fill and which of those -- if the goal is to reduce the overall size of the workforce -- are the ones that are less critical than others."

He also said the size of government -- outside a few agencies with extended hiring authorities such as the departments of Homeland Security, Defense and Veterans Affairs -- has been relatively stable. "Functionally, the federal government has been on a hiring freeze for the past 10 years," Valdez said. It would be new, he added, if the incoming administration embarked on a policy of management by attrition.

The Government Employee Pension Reform Act of 2015 sponsored by Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) would take a bite out of employee pensions by calculating "average pay" for pension determination over five years rather than three years, as is currently the case.

The Federal Employee Rights Act would put new restrictions on federal employee union activity. It would ban unions from deducting member dues directly from employee paychecks and restrict the use of member dues for activities other than collective bargaining, including presumably political activity. It would also raise the bar for approving unionization to a vote of more than 50 percent of members, not just 50 percent of ballots cast. The bill attracted 41 cosponsors.

In a statement on the Trump victory, American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. did not directly address any looming workforce cuts or new union rules.

"As public servants, federal employees work for the American people and will continue to carry out the missions of their agencies under the Constitution and law," Cox said. "AFGE will continue to fight for workers' rights and for the programs and services government employees deliver for the American people. That never changes no matter who sits in the White House."

Other bills that could be dusted off include measures to put feds who are under investigation for malfeasance on unpaid leave if warranted by the severity of the charge and make it easier to cut the pay and reclassify members of the Senior Executive Service. One bill that nearly passed the House would make it a firing offense for a federal employee to willfully understate his or her federal tax liability or have seriously delinquent tax debt.

NEXT STORY: Rudolph exits OMB cyber post

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.