Lawmaker Introduces Legislation to Freeze Federal Hiring, Slash Workforce Through Attrition


Last week, Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced the Federal Workforce Reduction Act of 2011, H.R. 657, a bill that would freeze federal hiring and slash the workforce through attrition.

Co-sponsored by 27 other Republican lawmakers, the bill will place an indefinite hiring freeze on all federal agencies except for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs. Complementing the freeze is a proposed “2 for 1” hiring restriction, permitting covered agencies to hire only one new employee for every two who retire or leave federal service.

“Slashing the federal workforce with a ‘2 for 1’ attrition scheme without giving any thought to how it will impact vital services is just bad policy, plain and simple,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “Indiscriminately eliminating federal jobs will only result in fewer services to the American people, and a logistical nightmare for federal agencies already looking at deep budget cuts.”

According to the text of the legislation, the hiring restrictions would not be lifted until the federal deficit has been eliminated. Though balancing the budget is an admirable goal, it is mathematically impossible to do so by slashing the civil service – a fact that Rep. Lummis and her colleagues don’t want the public to know.

“To sell this bill as a deficit reduction measure is laughable,” said NFFE Legislative Director Randy Erwin. “The salaries and benefits of targeted employees account for less than 2 percent of the federal budget, and cutting staff will only lead to a cost-shift that would be more expensive than filling vacancies as needed. This proposal is clearly politically driven and just another example of the myopic proposals being put forth to senselessly target our dedicated civil servants.”