Key House Republicans Introduce Bill to Cut 200,000 Federal Jobs by 2015
Three high-ranking Republican members of the House of Representatives yesterday introduced the 2011 Reducing the Size of the Federal Government Through Attrition Act, a bill that would force agencies to hire only one new employee for every three who retire. Introduced by Darrell Issa (R-CA), Dennis Ross (R-FL), and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the proposed legislation would mandate that the federal workforce be reduced by 10 percent – or 200,000 full time equivalents – by the beginning of 2015.
Though this is not the first time members of the House majority have sought to cut the federal workforce, it appears to be the most serious. At a congressional hearing last week, two Republican members of the House advocated for their bills to institute a government-wide hiring freeze, and a one-for-two attrition rate, respectively. NFFE National President William R. Dougan, who also testified at the hearing, urged Congress to reexamine its approach, emphasizing that the true measure of government’s size is not the number of federal employees, as others at the hearing had claimed. The true measure of government is dollars and cents.
“Reducing an agency’s workforce without a corresponding reduction in the agency’s mandate actually increases the size of government,” said Dougan in his testimony. “In the end, there are generally no savings derived from arbitrary staff reductions; rather a cost-shift moves resources away from the federal workforce to contractors. This is a pointless exercise that reduces government efficiency, hurts the services that federal agencies provide, and sticks taxpayers with a bigger bill.”
This would have an incredibly damaging effect not just on federal workers and their families, but the American people. Implementing an arbitrary one for three replacement policy will reduce the quality and quantity of government services and result in a logistical nightmare for federal agencies and the public they serve.
“When it comes down to it, this proposal means hiring just one VA nurse to care for our veterans for every three lost, one border patrol agent fighting drug and human trafficking for every three lost, and one wildland firefighters saving homes and businesses for every three lost,” said Dougan. “These are the real results of this harmful proposal.”
In spite of the high costs and reduced services that come with the mass elimination of federal jobs, the House majority is nonetheless determined to institute a sweeping policy to abruptly slash the federal workforce. If their intent is to reduce the workforce, they have a responsibility to the American people to explain the consequences of their actions.
“Instead of making sweeping, non-strategic proposals to cut the workforce in huge swaths, Congressional Republicans need to take a step back and have an honest conversation with the American people about which services they want and which ones they don’t,” said Dougan. “They haven’t done that yet, and they likely will not, because they know that the American people understand the immense value that federal workers bring to our national security, our economy, and our American way of life.”
The bill has yet to come up for formal consideration in the House, nor has it received a Senate counterpart, leaving an opportunity for NFFE and other federal unions to stop the legislation before it gains any traction.
“I don’t think the members of Congress proposing this legislation realize what a devastating impact this proposal will have on the ability of federal agencies to deliver critical services,” said Randy Erwin, NFFE Legislative Director. “Federal agencies can’t do the work they need to do without people. This proposal is not a genuine attempt to reduce the cost of government; it is a politically driven effort to appear as though they are reducing government while avoiding the tough decisions necessary to genuinely reduce the size of government. In reality, this bill will simply shift costs to contractors and won’t save the tax-payers a dime. We are going to fight this harmful legislation tooth and nail.”