Provision Slashing 36,000 Defense Jobs Survives Conference Committee
The Department of Defense (DoD) would be required to reduce the number of civilian and contractor employees by 5% under the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), approved by a House-Senate conference committee Tuesday. In total, the reduction is expected to eliminate as many as 36,000 civilian defense jobs over the next five years.
The workforce reduction provision was originally excluded from the House version of the bill, but was snuck into the Senate version by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) during markup. Though federal-worker-friendly members of Congress tried to strip the harmful provision from the House-Senate compromise version of the bill, their efforts were in vain. The personnel reduction was included in the final report, which is expected to be approved shortly by both chambers of Congress, and sent to the President’s desk for his signature.
“The only thing worse than the logic behind this provision is process by which it was written into the bill,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “The bill does little to specify where the cuts will occur, how balanced they will be, or even how they will be conducted. Too few specifics have been offered and too many questions have gone unanswered. When we’re talking about something as serious as jobs, we need a robust and informed debate before we make the big decisions – not after.”
Although this bill has contentious components – like the 5% personnel reduction – the bill is not likely to draw a veto from the White House. With the year coming to a close and the overall importance of the NDAA to funding our national security, the pressure on lawmakers and the White House to pass this bill and sign it into law will be immense. Nonetheless, it is extremely important for DoD employees and all federal employees to speak up about this provision being included in the final version of the Defense bill.
“This bill is an outrage,” said NFFE Legislative Direction Randy Erwin. “Our country is still struggling to come out of this down economy and now they want to slash 36,000 Defense jobs. Sweeping cuts like these make no business sense, yet they have a profound impact on our members and the communities they hurt. We will carry on this fight as long as it takes. Cuts like this don’t happen overnight. If these proposed cuts get passed into law this year, we’ll be back next year doing everything we can to repeal them. This thoughtless policy must not stand.”
Call your members of Congress using the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and make your voice heard!