Another GOP bill calls for government job cuts
Yet another Republican lawmaker is trying to trim fat off the federal payrolls. This time it's Rep. Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), one of several Republican members of the House Budget Committee pushing a package of government spending cuts.
The Republican argues that the federal government has grown by about 15 percent, or 188,000 jobs since President Obama took office. So Lummis's Federal Workforce Reduction Act would force the government to hire only one new worker to replace every two federal retirees. The hiring change would save taxpayers $3.5 billion in fiscal 2011 and $35 billion over 10 years.
Lummis said her bill "aggressively halts the sprawl of government, forces agency heads to make government more efficient, and helps us get back to a people-centered, not government-centered America.”
The departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs would be exempt from the cuts, and Obama could distribute the new hires as he felt necessary. Allowing the government to hire one replacement for every two retirees would not mean a hiring freeze, Lummis said.
But considering the current political balance of Congress, passage of Lummis's bill is a big pipe dream. Still, it's an intriguing proposal worthy of discussion.
Could the government function if it replaced every two retirees with just one new hire?
Max Stier, president of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, acknowledged the government needs to rethink its current size and structure. The partnership concluded last year that the government needs to fill 270,000 "mission-critical" jobs in the next three years, mostly at the Pentagon, DHS and VA. But Stier said Lummis's bill is not the right answer.
"History has shown that government-wide hiring freezes result neither in smaller nor more effective government," Stier said in an e-mail. "Indeed, downsizing the federal workforce without strategic workforce planning will result in skills gaps, an increased reliance on contractors and ultimately a government that is less efficient and effective than the American people deserve."
So what do you think? Continue the debate in the comments section below.
| June 3, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories: Congress, Workplace Issues
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