Republican Lawmaker Introduces Legislation Calling for Pay Freeze Extension, Workforce Reduction
Late last week, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) introduced the inappropriately titled Cut Unsustainable and Top-heavy Spending Act (H.R. 235). The legislation seeks to reduce the number of workers providing federal services and calls for significant pay cuts to the already significantly underpaid federal workforce. In short, this bill poses the greatest threat to livelihoods of federal workers seen in decades.
Calling for a three-year freeze on federal worker pay, the bill extends the White House’s current pay freeze by an additional year. Furthermore, it calls for a 10% workforce reduction across government, eliminating 200,000 federal positions.
“What we’re seeing here is a call for a race to the bottom,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “Federal employees have already been slapped with a two year freeze on their pay, and now certain members of Congress are looking to pile on. These politically-driven attacks on the federal workforce have to stop.”
The impact of this bill would be disastrous for the federal workforce and for the country. Federal workers, who are already paid substantially less than those doing the same jobs in the private sector, would sustain yet another blow to their bottom lines. An extended pay freeze would constitute a serious pay cut when inflation, soaring health care costs, and withering home values are taken into consideration. It would also place a more acute strain on federal workers’ retirement annuities, costing employees thousands in the long run.
Even more consequential would be the imposition of the bill’s workforce reduction provision, which mandates the elimination of 200,000 federal jobs. The proposal would cut the federal workforce by hiring 2 employees for every 3 who retire or leave government service. Reducing the federal workforce through an arbitrary replacement policy will reduce the quality and quantity of government services to the public and result in a logistical nightmare for federal agencies.
When it comes down to it, this proposal means hiring two doctors and nurses caring for our veterans for every 3 that leave; 2 Defense civilians supporting our troops abroad for every 3 who leave; and 2 wildland firefighters saving homes and businesses out West for every 3 who leave. This proposal also means longer waits for federal services such as social security, forcing America’s seniors to wait for the benefits they earned through a lifetime of hard work. Not only will it shortchange the American people on the vital services they receive from experienced federal workers every day, it may shift that work to contractors who have proven to be more expensive and operate with less transparency and oversight.
“This politically-driven proposal is bad policy, plain and simple,” said Dougan. “This legislation would diminish services, raise costs, and force the American taxpayer to foot the bill. When politics trumps policy, everybody loses.”
Please make your voice heard to stop H.R. 235 today. This misguided piece of political theatre must be stopped, and we need your help to do it. You have the right to seek help from your elected representatives in addressing your concerns – including policies that affect your conditions of employment as a federal employee. You may contact your Congressional representatives on such matters as long as you are on your own time, use your personal phone/computer, and make it clear you are contacting them as a citizen and not speaking on behalf of the agency.
To contact your House representative, call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, give the operator your zip code, and you will be forwarded to your member’s office.