The Federal Workforce is Shrinking, But Congress Wants More Cuts
Earlier this month, the Office of Personnel Management released data on the state of the 2014 federal workforce showing that the federal government shed around 21,000 jobs in FY14. That brings the total number of federal jobs lost since 2011 to over 84,000.
Notable agency losses include the Department of Treasury losing 12.95 percent of its workforce since 2011, Department of Housing and Urban Development losing 13.47 percent and the Environmental Protection Agency losing 15.6 percent. Additionally, the Department of the Army lost 29,592 federal civilian employees since 2011, the Department of the Air Force lost 13,794, and the Department of Agriculture lost 9,209, all since 2011.
Despite the federal government shedding jobs at alarming rates, there are those in Congress that believe the cuts are not deep enough. Wednesday, Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) introduced a bill aimed at cutting nearly 115,000 civilian jobs from the Department of Defense (DoD) – 15 percent of the overall civilian workforce. The proposed legislation would require the DoD to finalize the cuts by 2022 and maintain the reduced staffing levels for five years. Representative Calvert introduced nearly identical legislation in the previous session of Congress.
This legislation comes at a time when federal employees are repeatedly being used as a political punching bag, workplace morale is dropping steadily and the federal government is on track to shed a total of 100,000 jobs over a five year period. Arbitrarily forcing the DoD to make a draconian 15 percent civilian workforce cut would be devastating to both the workers directly impacted and also to the communities and families that these federal employees support.
Many communities rely on local military installations as significant economic drivers for the regions. Military installations provide good-paying federal jobs, and in turn those workers and their families support local businesses. A 15 percent workforce reduction would send devastating shockwaves through local economies across the country where civilian defense employees live and work.
“Despite this legislation going nowhere in the previous Congress, Representative Calvert continues to push this dangerous proposal that would gut our military effectiveness and decimate communities across the country,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “We are going to fight this legislation because it is the wrong path for our country and it will once again make hard-working federal employees scapegoats for a dysfunctional Congress.”