Do you hear shoes dropping?
Largely lost amid all the debt ceiling and Federal Aviation Administration furlough news, two senior Republican senators earlier this week introduced a bill to “reduce both the size and scope of the federal government.” In this case, that translates to “federal workforce.”
You knew it was coming.
None of the measures proposed by the bill are new. Most have a pedigree tracing back to recommendations put together by President Obama’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Aspects of the bill have appeared in other proposed legislation. But they aren’t going away.
The bill, from Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), is called the “Federal Workforce Reduction and Reform Act of 2011.” The legislation, announced Aug. 2, among other things, would extend the current two-year freeze on federal civilian employees’ salaries by another three years.
Yes, that’s right. The bill also would freeze all bonuses—including performance and recruitment bonuses—for that same time period.
In addition, the legislation requires a 15-percent cut in the size of the federal workforce, as well as cuts to the contractor workforce, over a 10-year period. These cuts, according to a press release from Hatch, “could easily be accomplished through attrition and simple accounting without adding to unemployment.”
“Simple accounting”—nothing ominous about that.
The senators’ bill also would cut the federal government’s annual travel budget by 75 percent. The current budget, which the sponsors put at $15 billion a year, is “a figure that is no longer necessary or sustainable,” they said.
Total savings realized by the measures in the bill?
“Our bill will generate significant savings—more than $600 billion—by implementing just a small handful of relatively simple reforms,” said Hatch.
So there it is.
Bottom line: The only thing Congress is likely to give feds in the near future is a month of respite during the August recess.
And then come September, the other shoe—or shoes—will begin to drop.
Posted by Phil Piemonte on Aug 04, 2011 at 4:02 PM