Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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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


Reader comments

Mon, Aug 22, 2011

There seems to be a lot of people that don't look at the other side of things. The federal government is a business just like a business in private industry. You need to take a look and think about that - the government is not here to "be nice to it's workers" - do you know of some company that is like that or are they in business to make a profit so they can provide themselves a better life? You are hired to work and I have seen so many times when people either don't think about that or forget it. I see the newer generation (more so than the older generation) come to work for the government, and yet don't actually work as they were hired to do. They do things that either benefit them or that they enjoy such as talking to others on the phone all day, playing on the internet, visiting with others so they also don't get their work done. In order for a business to thrive, everyone has to "be on board" and do their work, otherwise why would the company keep you on their rolls. What I don't understand is why the federal government should be any different. This also obviously shows there is waste in the federal government, it just would be nice if the people that actually cause this waste would be the ones to go and in a lot of cases that is true if there is a rif. But people have gotten so used to the perks, that they forget why they were hired in the first place. Just a thought.

Sun, Aug 21, 2011

It's time for all federal employees to wake up and start paying attention to how our elected officials view us. Join your local union.

Fri, Aug 19, 2011

If Congress cuts out the "fact" finding trips overseas that would save a lot of travel money. Also their office budget should be cut. One of the new "tea partiers" signed a car lease for a $1,000 a month. They should drive their own car not lease on the taxpayers dime. Bet that would save a few bucks. Also since the gas companies are making record profits, why are they still getting tax breaks? That money would feed a lot of hungry American children.

Fri, Aug 19, 2011 Another Federal Employee

Most of the federal workforce is capped at 240 hours of annual leave, however, Congress is allowed to save as much leave as they wish. I can't imagine the cost to the tax payers for that perk. Let's cap congress's annual leave to 240.

Fri, Aug 19, 2011

They can achieve the same or more savings by eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%.

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