Are Personnel Cuts In Store?

Last Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on workforce and labor policy heard testimony from two members of Congress who explained their plans to cut the number of federal employees. One plan would seek to limit the number of federal employees by attrition.

Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis (R-Wyo.) said her legislation would cut the number through attrition, allowing the government to hire only one new employee for every two who leave federal service.

“This notion of attrition has been replicated by the House Republican Budget Resolution, which assumes a more aggressive 3 to 1 replacement rate, and the President’s deficit commission, which called for a less aggressive 3 to 2 replacement rate,” said Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis (R-Wyo.). She also said that using attrition would afford executives some flexibility in prioritizing their resources.

Another plan — which would freeze federal hiring until the nation’s deficit has been eliminated — has been offered by Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.). That proposal contains exceptions for wars, national security programs, federal law enforcement, honoring prior contractual obligations and staffing of the U.S. Postal Service.

Most stakeholders believe that any downsizing must be balanced with changes in the contractor workforce and weighed against demands that might be placed on remaining staffers.

“It strains the limits of credibility to point the finger of blame on federal employees,” said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.). “If you force federal employees out, they’re going to collect their pensions. If you cut a contractor loose, it’s all savings. Why aren’t we looking at that?”

Union leaders have long expressed support for bringing work back to federal employees. In testimony submitted to the subcommittee, National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley called for contracting reform and a move toward insourcing:

“By ensuring federal employees are able to compete for work with contractors on an even playing field, and identifying areas in which the government could perform this work more effectively and efficiently, the federal government will be better able to provide high-quality services, and will save taxpayer dollars.”

Last Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on workforce and labor policy heard testimony from two members of Congress who explained their plans to cut the number of federal employees. One plan would seek to limit the number of federal employees by attrition.

Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis (R-Wyo.) said her legislation would cut the number through attrition, allowing the government to hire only one new employee for every two who leave federal service.

“This notion of attrition has been replicated by the House Republican Budget Resolution, which assumes a more aggressive 3 to 1 replacement rate, and the President’s deficit commission, which called for a less aggressive 3 to 2 replacement rate,” said Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis (R-Wyo.). She also said that using attrition would afford executives some flexibility in prioritizing their resources.

Another plan — which would freeze federal hiring until the nation’s deficit has been eliminated — has been offered by Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.). That proposal contains exceptions for wars, national security programs, federal law enforcement, honoring prior contractual obligations and staffing of the U.S. Postal Service.

Most stakeholders believe that any downsizing must be balanced with changes in the contractor workforce and weighed against demands that might be placed on remaining staffers.

“It strains the limits of credibility to point the finger of blame on federal employees,” said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.). “If you force federal employees out, they’re going to collect their pensions. If you cut a contractor loose, it’s all savings. Why aren’t we looking at that?”

Union leaders have long expressed support for bringing work back to federal employees. In testimony submitted to the subcommittee, National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley called for contracting reform and a move toward insourcing:

“By ensuring federal employees are able to compete for work with contractors on an even playing field, and identifying areas in which the government could perform this work more effectively and efficiently, the federal government will be better able to provide high-quality services, and will save taxpayer dollars.”

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