Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

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Worried about the bills?

No, not those; we mean the legislative kind. The ones that target the federal workforce.

And there are plenty of them. In fact, there are so many bills in Congress that put federal employees in the cross hairs, that you probably are hard pressed to keep track of them.

You may or may not be surprised to learn that there are about two dozen such bills in various stages of the legislative process in the House and the Senate at this very moment.

Each bill targets one or more of the things that define your life as a fed—your pay, your pension, the size of the federal workforce, and more.

That’s why we’re glad that the National Treasury Employees Union put together a list of all or most of this legislation for its annual legislative conference this week in Washington, D.C.

While the list is a snapshot—these days such bills seem to sprout overnight like mushrooms—it provides a pretty good picture of the size and scope of the current legislative effort to squeeze cost savings out of the federal workforce.

Here’s the list the union compiled:

Federal pay

H.R. 270 — would impose a mandatory two-week unpaid furlough for federal employees

H.R. 3835 — would extend the pay freeze for another year.

H.R. 3844 — would prohibit step increases.

H.R. 235 — proposes cuts to the federal workforce and a three-year pay freeze.

S. 2079 — would extend the pay freeze for another year.

S. 2065 — would extend the freeze through June 30, 2014.

S. 1476 — would extend the freeze through 2014.

S. 178 and H.R. 408 — would extend the freeze through 2015.

S. 1936 — would extend the pay freeze from its present two years to five years.


S. 644 — would eliminate the defined benefit portion of the Federal Employees Retirement System annuity.

H.R. 3813 — would sharply increase pension contributions, eliminate the FERS supplement and raise pension contributions for new hires.

Workforce cuts

H.R. 2114 — would cut the federal workforce by 10 percent by 2015, while providing a significant loophole for contracting out the work to the private sector.

S. 2065 — would reduce the size of government by 5 percent through attrition.

H.R. 657 — calls for cuts in the federal workforce. All agencies, other than Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security—which account for 60 percent of the workforce—would be able to hire only one employee for every two who leave federal service.

H.R. 3029, H.R. 3487 and S. 1476 — would reduce the size of the federal government through attrition by permitting the hiring of only one employee for every three who left government service.

H. R. 1779 — would prohibit the head of any executive branch agency from hiring in any year in which OMB projects a federal budget deficit.

S. 1611 — would allow the replacement of three employees who leave federal service by one new employee.

H.R. 3494 — would reduce the size of the federal workforce to no more than that of Oct. 7, 2007.

H.R. 3662 — would allow the hiring of one employee for every three who leave federal service.

S. 178 — would, among many other actions, limit the size of the federal workforce and extend the pay freeze through 2015.

Other issues

S. 261 — would cut workers’ compensation payments for older federal employees.

H.R. 87 and S. 712 — would repeal financial regulatory reform (the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act) supported by NTEU.

The list, which NTEU posted on its website, also provides the status of each piece of legislation as of this week—but from day to day, the Library of Congress’s THOMAS database probably is the best source of what’s going on with an individual bill.

As if you didn’t have enough to worry about already.


Posted by Phil Piemonte on Feb 29, 2012 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Mon, Mar 12, 2012 Ammo Joe

I hope there are some congresspersons reading this. How much more sharing of the HOPE AND CHANGE do we feds have to endure. Everything was going relatively smoothly until Obama expanded the Governemnt work force in order to "create jobs". Did it work, NO! Creating Federal Jobs will not save the economy, and everyone knows it. We were getting the job done before that, and everyone knows it. The answer is not to "punish" the federal workers by taking all their incentives away, and everyone knows it. CUTTING or FREEZING CONGRESSIONAL and EXECUTIVE BRANCH SPENDING on discresionary funding issues will help even more, and everyone knows it. Lowering Taxes or at least not raising them will create "opertunities", and everyone knows it. Congress needs to stop the "^&$%*" contests and get something done, and you know it. If you stop worrying about getting re-elected and do your job the re-election will happen. How about growing some kahunas and get the job done.

Thu, Mar 8, 2012 Lisa

From the above, there are 26 bills pending in Congress that would sanction federal employees who work every day to serve the U.S. public. A THOMAS search shows there are 69 bills pending that would sanction Iran, a country that threatens its neighbors, sponsors terrorism, and is working to develop a nuclear weapons capability. I guess we're considered a little more than one-third as dangerous as Iran.

Mon, Mar 5, 2012

madness! sheer madness!

Sat, Mar 3, 2012 Unemployed Federal Employee NC

I had always been permanent from 1987 until end of 2010 when I took a promotion away from home. The last position was listed as TERM instead of Permanent. HR offices were told to make this position permanent if we applied. I did apply and by some glitch in the software system, my application, though it was entered correctly and complete, one week later, showed I never applied for the permanent position. Local HR was notified and we, who had this problem (many people) were told "we are prohibited by law to correct the problem." Once this happened, those of us affected, were given letters saying thank you for your service, etc. We had to literally walk out of the door without jobs at the end of FY 2010. SF-50s, performance appraisals given, etc. after about three months. We weren't even given the opportunity to fight - we were told we had to leave - no questions asked. To date, I still don't have a job anywhere in the federal sector. I have spent many a sleepless night or else crying myself to sleep because I can't afford the things I need to have; basic needs mostly. I have no health insurance, no TSP, not eligible for retirement (needed 6.5 more years) and the list goes on and on. I have 24 years experience from three agencies. Yet, I cannot get a job. All these house bills are bullshit and meaningless endeavors. I have had many interviews and promises of a job, but nothing has come to fruition since 1 October 2010. I have been talked to very harsly by some HR offices and totally blown off like I don't exist because I ask too many questions. Hiring freezes, waiting times, house bills, aren't paying the worker's or potential workers' own bills. Right now, I am about to apply for food stamps because of rising food (and gas) prices. We are in jeopardy with our home. My husband is a senior citizen and partially disabled and only gets a minimal check each month. To date, I have applied for 242 federal jobs both permanent and some TERM positions just to be told NO? I am not a veteran - other bills such as veterans preference? BS - it's discriminatory - you're talking about putting a veteran in a position like mine with no experience, no training, no background, no knowledge of the civil service system after I worked in a particular position for x amount of years and trying desperately to return to work to help the government and and general public too? NOT!!!!! Who out there is willing to hire me today as a VSR or claims examiner, claims representative, service representative or whatever the case may be with the given that I have always had a good performance appraisal and good track record and I show it clearly on my resume and work history - the claimant; the public needs help - and I need a job today!

Fri, Mar 2, 2012

I don't really oppose cuts in staff or budget: Provided that Congress repeals the statutes mandating action by Federal agencies at the same time. What people don't seem to understand is that most agencies have had continuous cuts in inflation adjusted budgeets, and staff for decades, while Congress continues to pass more leglislation requiring that the agencies do more things, not less.

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