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Another GOP bill calls for government job cuts

By Ed O'Keefe

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.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 3, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
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Comments

Sounds like too much common-sense, I'm sure then Dems will shoot it down!

Posted by: stopthem | June 3, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Actually, it's a moronic idea--and, therefore, typical of the Republicans. They want to cut MORE jobs, and yet they don't want to extend unemployment benefits. Not only are they "the Party of NO", they are also the Party of Screwing Over the American Worker.

Posted by: beulah44 | June 3, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Beulah44. Maybe Congress could cut government spending if they cut the salaries of the House and Senate folks and also put a freeze on raises for these folks for the next few years. Why do spending cuts always come down to hurting the middle class folks in this country?

Posted by: dbuccini | June 3, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Considering the author of the bill, it's just another attempt by the minority party to undermine the effectiveness of the U.S. Government.

Posted by: JohnFr | June 3, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I suppose we'll do this the same way that we trimmed fat in the 70's and 80's - the old adage that "history repeats itself" could not be more true; perhaps we should amend it with "politicians will never learn a lesson - unless it's how to fill their personal pockets. We redesigned the CIA to use more signal intelligence than human intelligence because it was cheaper...and look where that got us. An article here yesterday dealt with nothing less than the fact that military acquisitions were so screwed up because they had cut costs by cutting staff - another brilliant idea that can probably be traced to a politician.

By all means, let's have politicians run everything - no professional managers, engineers, or any everyday people to get down, sweat, and actually do something.

I wonder when the last time is that one of our brilliant elected officials actually "broke a sweat" while doing something (like his job) that benefited his constituents!

Posted by: vagaf31 | June 3, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it's a moronic idea--and, therefore, typical of the Republicans. They want to cut MORE jobs, and yet they don't want to extend unemployment benefits. Not only are they "the Party of NO", they are also the Party of Screwing Over the American Worker.

Posted by: beulah44


I guess you saw the word "Republican" and had your opinion down pat right then? Because it appears you skipped over the part where the government sector has grown over 15% since January 2009 while the private sector has shrunk? And, who is it that pays the salaries of those public/government employees? Does it come from Obama's stash or do you and I pay for them to have those jobs and those benefits...while we're unemployed, under-employed, or have gone to four day work weeks and so on?

Posted by: LMW6 | June 3, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it's a moronic idea--and, therefore, typical of the Republicans. They want to cut MORE jobs, and yet they don't want to extend unemployment benefits. Not only are they "the Party of NO", they are also the Party of Screwing Over the American Worker.

Posted by: beulah44


I guess you saw the word "Republican" and had your opinion down pat right then? Because it appears you skipped over the part where the government sector has grown over 15% since January 2009 while the private sector has shrunk? And, who is it that pays the salaries of those public/government employees? Does it come from Obama's stash or do you and I pay for them to have those jobs and those benefits...while we're unemployed, under-employed, or have gone to four day work weeks and so on?

Sure, let's just keep on hiring folks like those at the SEC who watch porn on their government computers for 8 hours a day instead of enforcing the regulations you liberals insist on imposing on the private sector.....

Posted by: LMW6 | June 3, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

LMW6, I think you missed beulah44's point. You never hear these congressmen advocating for their own pay freezes or cuts to their staff. It's always low to middle government jobs that need to be cut. Why doesn't this congressmen propose mandatory retirement for his fellow congressmen that have been in office 20+ years, or perhaps why don't some of these congressmen volunteer to accept no pay for their positions, since most are already wealthy, until we get out of this recession. Instead, they advocate that the middle class government workers make the sacrifices that none of them are willing to make on their own.

Posted by: wmwilliams14 | June 3, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

WE have far too many overlapping programs, double the staff, more tax dollars to pay for it!

If the politicians tell us to sacrifice, then they should start right at D.C.

How much more should we give up? Politicians over the years have already stolen $2.5 Trillion from our S.S. funds....funds that were meant for our senior citizens....and all they left were IOU's.

Posted by: dareisay | June 3, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Has she considered having only two employees in her office? After all, she is not doing anything constructive besides voting NO. Hence, she can show her profound patriotism of saving the government money by cutting her staff and returning funds allocated for mailing, traveling, etc.

Posted by: hadelaide | June 3, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

If we truly "trimmed the fat" from government payrolls, DC would be a ghost town.

Posted by: seraphina21 | June 3, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

My employer (private) has been trimming for years. I now have to wear several hats and have the responsibility of my own job and parts of others. If I want to keep my job, I have to accept this. Does it make me more effective than I once was? No! Do I struggle to make sure things get done? Yes! Am I constantly fighting fires instead of keeping the undergrowth clear? Yes! I agree with the elimination of wasteful redundancy and tossing the wastrels from the employment books, but I disagree with forcing good employees to do more with less and expecting them to maintain the highest standards of productivity.

Keep up the fight Rep. Lummis but try to use some common sense while doing so.

Posted by: mraymond10 | June 3, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

If it is true that the government now employs 15% more people than in 2008, this is of serious concern. In my community, virtually every sector of society - small businesses, health care, local and state government, large industry, has needed to reduce staff to manage to their way through this economy and maintain financial viability.

None of these sectors can print their own money; it is foolish for our federal government to grow staff as if there is an endless supply of cash. Increasing efficiency, through staff reduction, is the hard work of managers everywhere. Time for our federal leaders to put on their harnesses and pull with the rest of us.

Posted by: mceast1 | June 3, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Let's start by eliminating Rep. Lummis's job.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | June 3, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Cut the public union wages and benefits by 30% and get them on par with private sector! Time to spread the "union wealth"

Posted by: usmc1969 | June 3, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi's 2009 staff!

Adika, StephanieAfshan, Mejgan A.Aguillen, Amador Dean (Dean)Anderson, Jamal H.Barr, NathanielBarry, Pamela AnnBartholomew, CarolynBeckelman, Yuri R.Bernal, Daniel E. (Dan)Boule, ScottBright, Cortney HooverCamp, Andrea PamfilisCarp, Paul D.Carrillo, Francisco R.Collins, LaurelConnolly, Michael J.Conroy, Peter G.Crawford, George C.Crider, Jennifer L.Crowe, Derrick C.Daly, BrendanDe Andrade, Philip. Decew, StuartDodd, Catherine JeanDowney, LaurenEdmonson, Robert D.Eichenbaum, LaurieFallon, Bridget C.Fleschner, Kristin A.Flora, NatashaFuerstenau, Amy C.George, Evangeline M.Giattina, Timothy J.Granowitter, MarcHaider, OgaiHammill, Andrew Thomas (Drew)Haynes, Wilfred J. Jr. (Wil)Herbert, Mark D.Hilton, NancyIbarra, BenjaminIshimoto, Harriet M.K.Jenkins, Julia A.Joshua, LauraKefauver, Diane C.. King, RosemarieLe, Ricky XuanLea, RobynLeavandosky, Stacey E.Lemons, Judith K.Levison, Lara K.Lewis, Julie L.Little, William I.Manatos, Anastasios (Tom)Marks, Alexis SummerMcCullough, Mary T. (Terri)Mehran, Alexander R.Miller, Elizabeth A.Moline, JuliaMuirragui, HermanNewton, Larina L.Nicole, EstherNutter, MelanieO'Neill, Catlin W.Pacifico-Cogan, DaniellePrice, Reva B.Raj, Meghna J.. Raymond, Samuel H. (Sam)Rubio, Tina TadessaScafaru, VeronicaSeligmann, Melissa K.Shannon, Melissa E.Sheehy, Michael W. (Mike)Shepherd, Elizabeth W.Short, Paula MarieSkewes-Cox, Christina J. (Stina)Stivers, JonathanStivers, EmilyStivers, AdamSultan, TimSung, NinaSurgeon, Bina G.Swanigan, Michael W.Swanson, LucasUeng, Stephanie L.Vidal, LindsayVolberding, Alexander C. (Alex)Yow, Stefanie Y.

Posted by: usmc1969 | June 3, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

An across the board hiring freeze and reduction of the Executive agencies. Why not apply it to congressional staff, TSA and the military?

Posted by: northdakota | June 4, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if the 15% increase is due in part to this being a census year? If not, what ever happened to the retirement tsumani? Anyway, a top down approach alone won't work well and never has. Rudy was on to something about automation but unfortunately made a blanket statement. Also, I always wondered why the standard times making up the procurement administrative lead times for the various types of procurement actions never changed since the 1970's despite the proliferation of PC's.

Posted by: dixierickie | June 5, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

The Federal workforce is currently smaller than it was in 1969, with 100 million more people and many more Federal programs to serve, including an unthinkable amount of "oversight" by 1969 standards. Talking about a 15% hiring increase (is that because of the dicennial census?)is really a reaction to years of doing more with less. There are economies to be had by better use of the Federal workforce and Government contractors, but to speak of Federal staffing on a one-year timeline is to totally misrepresent what's been going on for the last fifty years. Federal employment has been flat or down since the 1960s.

http://www.opm.gov/feddata/HistoricalTables/ExecutiveBranchSince1940.asp

Posted by: finserra | June 6, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

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