Republicans Introduce Legislation to Slash Federal Employment

By Richard Thayer

It had been threatened for quite some time now. On Monday (June 6) those voicing that threat took it one step closer to completion with a news conference on Capitol Hill.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell “The Ice Man” Issa (R-Calif), flanked by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), unveiled details on house House Republicans propose to save taxpayers $127.5 billion over the next four years on the backs of federal workers.

Here’s the plan in a nutshell:

The government will only hire 1 employee for every 3 that retire. This would cut the federal workforce over the next four years by 10 percent.

The proposed legislation would require the Office of Management and Budget to keep tabs on the workforce and report to Congress if the number in any federal agency exceeds 90 percent of its 2011 employee level. Once that limit is reached, employment for that agency stops.

The only exceptions for this 90 percent threshold would be for war or national emergencies.

Rep. Ross, who is the chairman of a House subcommittee on the federal government, noted that there are currently 400,000 federal workers who are eligible for retirement and that “as these workers leave, we cannot let this opportunity to save taxpayer money pass.”

Although the Republican party is very zealous about whacking away at the federal employee “deadwood”, statistics show that federal agencies are right now operating with the fewest employees in the past 40 years.

Back in 1970 the government had 2.94 million workers or 14.4 workers for every 1,000 citizens. Last year, the government, including the Postal Service, employed 2.65 million workers or 8.4 employees for every 1,000 citizens.

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, called the plan “a short-sighted proposal that would only undermine the federal government’s ability to deliver vital services.”

Last week, National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) began airing radio ads in Washington, DC and around the country as part of its “Protect America’s Heartbeat” radio campaign. In an e-mail sent out Monday by NARFE President Joseph Beaudoin soliciting funds so that these ads could continue, he notes that former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said last week when announcing his candidacy for president that he would be going to Washington, DC “to remind the federal bureaucracy that government exists to serve its citizens, not its employees.”

Says Beaudoin: “I have news for Mr. Pawlenty–He doesn’t have to visit Washington, because federal workers and retirees are in Minnesota. And in Iowa. And in every state in our nation. And he doesn’t have to remind us about service. We were faithfully serving the citizens of this great nation long before he first decided he wanted to run for political office.

“We’re the middle-class families who protect our borders, keep our families safe and keep Social Security checks going out on time, often for less pay than we would have earned in the private sector.”

You can hear those radio ads and help keep them on the air by going here.

And to contact your congressman/congresswoman, go here.


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