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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 01/14/2011

GOP lawmaker wants feds to take 2-week furloughs

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

A Colorado Republican wants to cut congressional salaries by 10 percent and force federal workers not working on defense, health, homeland security or law enforcement issues to take two-week furloughs, figuring the cuts could save taxpayers about $5.5 billion.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), who unveiled the plan Thursday, said furloughs are becoming commonplace at the local and state level.

"I want to make the U.S. government as cost conscious as the states," he said in a statement. "At least 24 states have enacted similar budget-cutting measures, while the federal government continues to grow and rack up debt."

The furloughs would start in 2012, Coffman said. His ideas don't go as far as a bill by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) that would cut 10 percent of the federal workforce over the next decade.

Several GOP lawmakers introduced similar bills last year, but they failed to advance in the Democratic-controlled House. With Republicans now in control, such proposals have a better chance of advancing.

Coffman's plan for congressional pay cuts goes farther than one introduced last week by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who wanted 5 percent pay cuts for lawmakers on top of the 5 percent cuts to congressional budget offices. Giffords introduced her bill two days before a shooting in Tucson left her severely injured.

If either proposal advances, it would be the first time in about 78 years that Congress has taken a pay cut, according to Giffords's office.

Neither Brady, Coffman nor Giffords's bills are likely to advance as written, but they continue to demonstrate the direction Congress may take as it tries to find ways to trim the federal deficit.

Do you agree or disagree with the spending proposals? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Cabinet and Staff News: President Obama's olive branch to big business. Vice President Biden and Iraqi leader focus on the two nations' future relationship. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pushes for economic and political reforms during her tour of the Middle East. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates calls on Tokyo to build better ties with Seoul. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner lobs criticism at China. The assistant attorney general for national security is leaving. First Lady Michelle Obama writes an open letter to parents about the Tucson shootings. Former president Jimmy Carter says the world should forgive Sudan's debts. Condoleezza Rice predicts Super Bowl winners.

CDC:
Federal report highlights racial disparities in health: In its first detailed report on the issue, the agency found Whites in the United States die of drug overdoses more often than other ethnic groups, blacks are hit proportionately harder by AIDS, strokes and heart disease and American Indians tend to die in car crashes.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
Arms sales to Georgia? Completely false, Pentagon says: It's knocking down a report from Moscow that the Obama administration is on the verge of resuming arms sales to the former Soviet republic.

New chairman of House Armed Services Committee plans reorganization: Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Calif.) plans to shift oversight of certain weapons programs, including Navy and Marine Corps tactical jets.

No God, no mantra? You'd flunk Army's 'spiritual fitness' test: Already, one church-state watchdog is having a constitutional fit over the Army's inclusion in a battery of questions to measure a soldier's resilience. Is he or she fit to fight for inner peace?

Former Marine colonel rallies to get donkey to U.S. from Iraq: John Folsom, who was Camp Taqaddum's commandant in 2008, hopes to bring Smoke the donkey home to Nebraska to brighten the lives of children whose parents are serving overseas.

EPA:
Agency revokes permit for major coal mining project: It revoked the permit for one of the nation's largest mountaintop-removal coal mining projects on Thursday, saying the mine would have done unacceptable damage to rivers, wildlife and communities in West Virginia.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
Federal workers' compensation payments called wasteful: The law that compensates federal workers for lost pay and medical expenses due to job-related injuries or disease is vulnerable to fraud and should be audited, according to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

NASA:
NASA names backup commander for Giffords's husband: Astronaut Rick Sturckow will serve as Mark Kelly's backup commander for the STS-134 mission so that the crew can continue training for its scheduled launch on April 19.

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE:
Some postage rates going up: Rates will go up for postcards, periodicals, international letters, parcels and advertising mail on April 17 under rules that allow price increases within the rate of inflation.

SEC:
SEC looking into deals with sovereign funds: The agency is looking into whether these institutions violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in their efforts to secure investments from foreign governments' investment funds.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | January 14, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Budget, Congress, Workplace Issues  
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Comments

I think Congress should take a pay cut. They really don't do the peoples' work anyway - they are there for their own ego and why should the American people pay to pad Congress's ego. It seems that Congress is always taking away from the American people but never giving anything of themselves. Maybe its time they give a little.

Posted by: dbuccini1 | January 14, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Is Rep. Mike Coffman and his staff going to take a furlough to show his support and committement? The military? Members of Congress? The White House? They are all federal employees, aren't they?

Posted by: duffer1 | January 14, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Cutting the federal workforce by 10% will be meaningless unless they don't backfill with contractors and consultants. 43 claimed to have cut the federal workforce, but the contractor workforce increased almost exponentially.

Posted by: debgrosner | January 14, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

The GOP members of Congress keep complaining about Federal workers and how inefficient they are. However, not approving any budget (too hard folks?) and discussions about wholesale furloughs and downsizing does nothing but add to the inefficienies. Here we are, one of third of the fiscal year gone and no budget and very confusing direction. Hey, Congress is our boss. If we have issues, look in the mirror as to the main cause!

Posted by: Michael82055 | January 14, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Is Rep. Mike Coffman and his staff going to take a furlough also, to show his support and commitment? The military, Congress, the White House? Aren't they all Federal employees of some kind?

Posted by: duffer1 | January 14, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Until you address the cash cows that are defense (now that's a fiscally efficient agency), homeland security, and health, you can cut, ridicule, and furlough civilian Feds all you want and you'll hardly make a dent in the budget. I have no problem doing my share for America, especially if the sacrifices are borne by ALL.

Posted by: DCGator1 | January 14, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Our elected officials continue to impart their will on the federal workforce, but do not share in the sacrifice. Let's take away their life-time health care, their retirement package and their private jets. Let's see how much money that would save?

Posted by: summer2010 | January 14, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

A workforce cut makes more sense as they could get rid of the real dead wood, but furloughs make sense too. They had a one week furlough last year (snow storm) with no long-term impact. Now we just need to take the next step and not pay people when they don't work.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | January 14, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I left a job with State government (Maryland) to join the Federal workforce because of the furloughs and other so-called cost-saving measures by the Governor. Now I might have to face a longer furlough because some dopey Republican congressperson, playing to his rightwing anti-government electorate base , thinks furloughs are a pretty good idea to save the government money? I think it's time for me and my wife (who's also a Federal employee) to retire and move to New Zealand - far away from all the BS coming out of Capitol Hill...

Posted by: dstreet208 | January 14, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

F U Coffman. I'll be living at your house when I lose my apartment because of furloughs. And I will show up on your doorstep when it happens. You will see the human side of your attacks on federal workers.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | January 14, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Congressional & Senatorial members are also Federal Employees and among the highest paid. I think it's time to show they are fully for downsizing Federal spending and take a significant pay cut, say maybe 15%. Would love to see the budgetary savings on those numbers before we start talking furloughs.

But then again, why would they possibly do anything for the people. Just a bunch of selfish corporate businessmen and women trying to maintain their investments! To heck with the everyone else! I'm not saying to lay down on the sword, but at least make a sacrifice instead of sacrificing others for you.

Posted by: Virginia1776 | January 14, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

How about a one week unpaid furlough for civil servants and all other federal employees except elected officials and political appointees. Not many families can manage the loss of half a month's pay without suffering major hardship, even a 25% cut for a month would be very trying. Or how about a 5% ONE-YEAR pay cut -- it would save the government more money, but be easier for most families to cope with. But I think the furlough idea is great for Congressmen, congressional staff, the President, the White House staff, and all federal judges. But so that their reduction comes closer to 10%, let's give them an unpaid month off. The millionaires in the Senate and House won't feel it and many others have other income sources, but at least some of our Congressmen might get to experience a real budget pinch as often happens to other Americans. Some of these guys are workaholics who could use a week off, and the country might benefit as well if Congress took an extra month off. In fact, this might be good on a permanent basis. President Obama and Joe Biden could swap off with each taking a month off. So how does everyone feel about President Biden for a month?

Posted by: Skeptical5 | January 14, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The higher paying federal employees could take a two week furlough with no real pain. But what about the GS-4 who is struggling to make ends meet as it is? Somehow, that wouldn't seem quite right.

How much do we spend in Iraq and Afghanistan every second?

Posted by: John991 | January 14, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

The higher paying federal employees could take a two week furlough with no real pain. But what about the GS-4 who is struggling to make ends meet as it is? Somehow, that wouldn't seem quite right.

How much do we spend in Iraq and Afghanistan every second?

Posted by: John991 | January 14, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

cost cutting:

reduce senators from 2 to 1 (make an amendment for those constitutionally bound). reduce house memebers from what it is know to 2 per state. reduce staff for each congress person to no more than three (unless pay is out of pocket or provided by a lobbist). Salaries will be no more than $100,000 per yr. with perks to be provided by lobbists

And, no more lunches/dinners at places that cost $100 per plate unless paid for by lobbists.

Posted by: perryrants | January 14, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The higher paying federal employees could take a two week furlough with no real pain. But what about the GS-4 who is struggling to make ends meet as it is? Somehow, that wouldn't seem quite right.

How much do we spend in Iraq and Afghanistan every second?

Posted by: John991 | January 14, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

How about a one week unpaid furlough for civil servants and all other federal employees except elected officials and political appointees. Not many families can manage loss of half a months pay without suffering major hardship, even a 25% cut for a month would be very trying. Or how about a 5% ONE-YEAR pay cut -- it would save the government more money but be easier for most families to cope with. But I think the furlough idea is great for Congressmen, congressional staff, the President, the White House staff, and all federal judges. But so that their reduction comes closer to 10%, let's give them an unpaid month off. the millionaires won't feel it and many others have other income sources, but at least some of our Congressmen might get to experience a real budget pinch as often happens to others. Some of these guys are workaholics who could use a week off, and the country might benefit as well if Congress took an extra month off. In fact, this might be good on a permanent basis. President Obama and Joe Biden could swap off with each taking a month off. So how does everyone feel about President Biden for a month?

Posted by: Skeptical5 | January 14, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Bama congressperson needs to forego his own government-sponsored universal health care FIRST.

Posted by: bs2004 | January 14, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Bama congressperson needs to forego his own government-sponsored universal health care FIRST.

Posted by: bs2004 | January 14, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

cost cutting:

reduce senators from 2 to 1 (make an amendment for those constitutionally bound). reduce house memebers from what it is know to 2 per state. reduce staff for each congress person to no more than three (unless pay is out of pocket or provided by a lobbist). Salaries will be no more than $100,000 per yr. with perks to be provided by lobbists

And, no more lunches/dinners at places that cost $100 per plate unless paid for by lobbists.

Posted by: perryrants | January 14, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

F U Coffman. I'll be living at your house when I lose my apartment because of furloughs. And I will show up on your doorstep when it happens. You will see the human side of your attacks on federal workers.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | January 14, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

How about Congress cuts its size by 10% (the House)? Do we need 435 reps? How about 391 instead (or even just 399?) With redistricting coming up now is the perfect time to drop 10% of the seats with each state taking a relative hit (except the few small ones).

After they've passed the bill to reduce the size, then they can take a two-week (unpaid) furlough.

Posted by: ah___ | January 14, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I guess all you Republican folks who voted for a change in the house can now be happy. Cut off your nose to spite your face. I guess you won't mind being furloughed and possibly losing your job. Lots of workers here in SoMD who are federal workers who are Republicans. Not very smart now are you!

Posted by: jlwadd123 | January 14, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I guess all you Republican folks who voted for a change in the house can now be happy. Cut off your nose to spite your face. I guess you won't mind being furloughed and possibly losing your job. Lots of workers here in SoMD who are federal workers who are Republicans. Not very smart now are you!

Posted by: jlwadd123 | January 14, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Not sure that would solve anything. There would be a cost to gov't with furloughs and not sure it would mean a savings.

I wonder if Congress knows that the federal gov't pays the personnel overhead costs for contracted personnel. We pay facilities ans security costs for many companies. Reduce those costs to fed gov't levels and see how much we save. 5% of $500 billion!
If we want to save money we have to reduce the cost of war. Two week furlough is two weeks funding to support AF. How can Af continue to be the 3rd poorest nation in the world on 2.5 billion dollars a week?

Posted by: sjbrown1 | January 14, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

The comment about backfilling with civilian contractors is right on. Far too many tasks have been farmed out and we do not need to have more. I do not understand why the military contract out delivery of supplies and even the security of the top brass to civilian security forces.
Why all the crying about federal employees having to take a break without pay. What makes them think they deserve better treatment than state and local employees? It is not just my grandchildren that will suffer from this massive debt we are running up, it will be their grandchildren as well. Wake up feds.

Posted by: foggybottomJohn | January 14, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The two-week furlough is roughly a 4-5% pay cut. If we have to take a pay cut, spread out over a year, at least you could budget and plan for it. But if you are furloughed one week in a month - that's a 25% pay cut for that month. If you're furloughed two weeks - that's a 50% pay cut! How many of us have enough cash stashed away to survive a 25-50% pay cut for any given month? With so many people living paycheck to paycheck, how do you pay for your bills and your mortgage for the month where' you're down by 25-50%? I'm afraid that would push some employees over the financial cliff that would take months if not years to recover from.

Posted by: TamaraCWaters | January 14, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Why not. Congress takes regular recesses. Oh wait, they get PAID during that time.
Again, arrogant, unintelligent 'media hits" to make it look like your representative cares about you.
Cut congressional pay (since most are either wealthy or being supported by corporate interests). Cut they staffs, first class travel, unnecessary "junkets" and acceptance for corporate brides (excuse me, "campaign contributions"). Let's really do something to bring the power back to the people instead of pandering self-interest groups.

Posted by: pjohn2 | January 14, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

You have to be kidding me furlough. Are they going to furlough our bills? I find it amazing that the republican law makers can ask everyone but the rich in this country to sacrifice. Freeze gov't pay for two years, furlough gov't employees, don't cut defense spending and don't raise taxes on the wealthy, don't punish business for sending jobs overseas and shipping the products back here for us to buy. I'm more than willing to do my share to help with budget problems, as long as everyone shares in the resolving the problem.

Posted by: aviator3 | January 14, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Has Rep. Coffman ever thought of "furloughing" all federal contractors. Bet that adds up to more savings. All how about tour servicemen in the middle east, they would probably LOVE a two-week furlough. Better yet, a full return to the US to protect us and not some corrupt tribal leader.

Posted by: pjohn2 | January 14, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

If the two week unpaid furlogh is passed how would it be implemented? Would federal workers be required to take two weeks off, unpaid, all at once or would it be spread out throughout the year? Say, one day unpaid leave a month. That would be a lot easier to deal with than missing an entire paycheck (we get paid in two week payperiods at the agency where I work). It wouldn't be a pleasant thing to have to endure but at least it woudln't be as devestating as not receiving a whole paycheck. And, if we had to take two weeks off all at once, how would we pay the premiums for our benefits, such as health care, life insurance, etc... Would we have to pay double premiums in the next payperiod to make up for the ones we missed? That would be very unfair and would create an undue hardship.

Posted by: Lewis52 | January 14, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Someone needs to turn the tables on these incompetent jokers and make it known that the US collects far less as a percentage of GDP in taxes than the better managed OECD nations. The US collects about 24% of GDP, slightly more than that paragon of effective government, Mexico.

Posted by: Cellophane | January 14, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Do the people who support furloughs think that every federal employee cashes his paycheck, then goes home and sticks the money under the bed? Federal employees use their paychecks - like everyone else - to pay their mortgages, buy food and clothing, and pay for entertainment, services, etc. When federal employees tighten their belts, there's a lot of other belt tightening that happens, too. Consider this example: Let's say I'm furloughed for two weeks, and the government keeps my $2400 paycheck. I still need to pay the mortgage, utilities, etc, so I cut back on non-essentials. First thing I do is cancel daycare for my daughter for those two weeks; no need for it if I'm home. That saves me $600. Eating breakfast & lunch at home, for 10 days? That'll save around $150. 10 days in tee-shirts and jeans means no need for dry cleaning: $40 savings. Cancel the weekly maid service; if I'm home all day, I can do my own vacuuming: $260. Cancel the dog walker for the same reason: $200. No commute? That's about $30 in gas I won't need to buy.

That adds up to $1250 - more than half of my biweekly paycheck - that goes right back out to the community. The daycare provider, the maids, the dog walker, the dry cleaners, the gas station... They're the ones losing that money if I'm furloughed, not me. I just pass it along.

Posted by: paulje | January 14, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I think that Congress should reduce their salaries to the federal civil service cap of about $155,000 and then they should give themselves a furlough--not a vacation--a real furlough--that means 2 weeks without pay not just taking off to Costa Rica for two weeks. Then, when they get back, I think that they should all go in a work a full week at their local Social Security Office taking claims and for that week, they should be paid what the Social Security employee gets paid.

Posted by: Prosperity2008 | January 14, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

According to OMB, Medicare fraud amounted to approximately $47.9 billion in 2010 out of a total Medicare budget of $528 billion. Compared to that waste, a $5.5 billion savings from cutting Federal employee pay is chump change. What is more, the Federal Government cannot stop Medicare fraud without hiring more employees to detect it and catch it. If Congress wants to get serious about fraud, waste and abuse of government funds, they should hire the people they need to do that job, and pay them well. Cutting federal pay has the opposite effect; fraud, waste and abuse will grow. This is common sense, which is in very short supply on Capitol Hill these days.

Posted by: glazerandfamily | January 14, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Having worked for the Federal Government for nearly 30 years, I know when there is a "Balance of Payments," "reduction in force" and other cuts in office staffing, or when other "great" savings plans are instituted, offices will usually give up the lowest paid workers to meet what ever limits are set and cuts are made. It is then that 'temporary contract employees' are brought in to 'lessen the loads.' Within a period of time, the lowest paid employee slots are again filled - losing the experience and qualifications of those who were originally cut from their jobs.

The US Congress members are the ones that should take whatever cuts are deemed necessary. But to make cuts where it will hurt less - cuts should be made from the extremely highly paid contractors (especially with Department of Defense) who seem to rake in the dough for very little work accomplished or work very poorly done and the contractors are paid their "over run" costs.

Posted by: rbsher | January 14, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, thanks alot Republithug Coffman.

Here is food for thought, in my shop we have 48 feds and 186 contractors. Since 2010 we have submitted 3 proposals to reduce the contracting workforce by 50% to no avail. Why.....? Leadership gets cold feet and would rather avoid a Congressional, but for the unlucky 48 go ahead and take two, we'll keep the lights on until you get back.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | January 14, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

It's the Congress' job to establish the federal budget through appropriations bills, not federal bureaucrats. Bureaucrats must do what the appropriations bills say, to do otherwise is illegal.

Blaming bureaucrats is just a way of avoiding doing their jobs, which is to appropriate wisely, within our means, and to the greater benefit of society.

In fact, the pay cut is going to do the opposite of its intention. The lack of federal workers just forces the executive to outsource more and more work to contractors who cost more per person, per hour. In addition, the demoralizing blaming of bureaucrats for Congress' failures scares potentially good workers out of applying for fed jobs. Without the ability to let poor performers go, we end up with increasing amounts of poor performers and less strong performers. Do I need to mention the wave of retirement.

Think about the long-term, Congress!

Posted by: beut_d | January 14, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

There should not be pay cuts for Congresspeople, except for fools and idiots.

Posted by: sameolddoc | January 14, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The 2-week furlough makes financial sense and does not let anybody go hungry.

Posted by: bobo13 | January 14, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Congressman Coffman's bill, H.R. 270, is worth a look. First of all, it violates the Constitution (Art. III, Sect. 1) by cutting judicial pay. Second, while furloughing federal employees for the equivalent of 2 weeks in fiscal year 2012 (that is, from October 1, 2011 until September 30, 2012), pay for Members of Congress won't be cut by 10% until 2013; that is the NEXT Congress, not this one. Third, and not surprisingly, the pay of the Capitol Police will NOT be cut. It's a worthless piece of political grandstanding, to say the least.

Posted by: glazerandfamily | January 14, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

In light of all the perks available to Congress, they should sacrifice the most significant pay reductions. But the "cookie cutter" approach for the rest of the work force is counter productive.

It was used in California. Cash flow at income producing agencies plummet and other agencies requiring 24/7 staffing work employees overtime to cover those on furlough. The state lost money and paid more in wages.

I know it is alot to ask of government, but common sense must prevail.

Posted by: AmericanRealist | January 14, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Just about every time I read the comments to anything on the Washington Post, the Fed-bashers turn out in force. What a refreshing change these comments are. Thoughtful, considerate, and many right-on-target. The observation that Medicare fraud costs many more billions a year, and the only way to catch fraudulent Medicare charges is to hire people to audit them (OK, the government *could* hire cheaper consultants, and pay the difference to their masters, rather than hire actual "Federal" employees).
As a Federal retiree, I thank you all for turning out!

Posted by: skoper1 | January 14, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

As a constituent of Congressman Mike Coffman, I think this is a brilliant idea! The Colorado state government and the City and County of Denver use furloughs already.

Washington, DC seems to have been flush with money throughout the recession, which no one believes is really over. It's time the Feds start feeling the sacrifice we all have been making, outside of the Beltway, for some time now.

Posted by: AverageGOPVoter | January 14, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Just about every time I read the comments to anything on the Washington Post, the Fed-bashers turn out in force. What a refreshing change these comments are. Thoughtful, considerate, and many right-on-target. The observation that Medicare fraud costs many more billions a year, and the only way to catch fraudulent Medicare charges is to hire people to audit them (OK, the government *could* hire cheaper consultants, and pay the difference to their masters, rather than hire actual "Federal" employees).
Kevin Drum's graph on deficit reduction (http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2010/11/deficit-commission-serious) should tell you all you need to know about where the problem is.
As a Federal retiree, who left in disgust after the Newt Gingrich fiasco of the 90's, I thank you all for turning out!

Posted by: skoper1 | January 14, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

All these comments from govvies talking about the hypocrits in Congress remind me of just how arrogant they are themselves. The fact of the matter is so many people in the private sector are forced to take furloughs, so why not every federal employee other than those in law enforcement, medical services, and national security? I really get tired of hearing from the molly coddled civil servants whining about how bad they have it when Congress cuts their transit subsidy. They whine about everything yet actually achieve very little. I say enough of this "do it to everyone else but me" attitude. Obozo ran up the deficit to "help the people" so now all of "the people" can bear a hand in paying the deficit off.

Posted by: panamajack | January 14, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

As a Fed Employee I'd welcome the extra income. Every one day they close the Govt...we need 2 days of OVERTIME to make up for it! LOL for every FTE that leaves - they are replaced by TWO contractors at triple the salary!

Posted by: snowbucks | January 14, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Don't cry now Feds. The Repubs said they were going to do it. You voted them in.

Posted by: jyates2 | January 14, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Have you ever wondered, as I have, what would happen to federal jobs (including conractors) if China decided not to purchase any more of our debt?

Posted by: PracticalIndependent | January 14, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

He is introducing furloughs because the state and local governments are doing it.

THIS is the BEST he can do?

Reducing the federal workforce? REALLY???

No mea cupla? That the new Rep. lead Congress remains as ineffective as it was before, because it is the same party that refused to work in getting a budget passed!

Did the states and localities resolve their budget woes through furloughs? Nope!
Did states and localities resolve anything by raising taxes and fees? Nope!

So rather than leading by example that a budget can be passed, and costs can be trimmed without sacrificing people, this clown thinks that if the fed does it, we will see different results. Yeah right!

DO you honestly think (using the word "think" loosely) that freezing COLA's and creating furloughs is going to resolve anything?

Be honest when you tell the american public that you want to reduce the work force.

Tell the american people that for every GS position phased out, the government will bid for a contractor to come in add do the same work at private sector wages.

If this new Republican lead Congress was serious about fiscal responsibility, they would forego their own salary and massive operating expenditures until they actually earn that paycheck.

Posted by: grumpfish | January 14, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

This idea of cutting workers does nothing for the economy.

War is a giant money hole that kills innocent people and costs a ton of money.

I say cut the defense budget and move those dollars to IMPROVED Medicare for All Insurance
Now we're investing in america and potentially 2.6 million new jobs.

Posted by: rheckler2002 | January 14, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

This is all nonsense to divert from the real issue-SPENDING.

Posted by: wwwwombat_uno | January 14, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Politicians should leave government workers alone. Because of the A76 effort I had to change my 20-year IT career to Project Management. Working in Information Technology and supporting government systems was not considered inherently governmental so I had to switch or quit. My $45 an hour position, $89,000 annually, went to a contractor at $107 an hour, $214,000 annually. The Bush administration pushed this agenda even though they didn’t initiate it. Report after report kept saying how much cheaper it is to fill government positions with contractors. I don’t understand how. All I see are permanent government positions being filled with contractors at two to three times the rate. The positions aren’t eliminated, just sold.

The government grew to its largest size ever with republicans controlling the Whitehouse, Congress, and the Senate. I don’t necessarily blame them. The government has grown under every administration. I just wish that could be mentioned more.

Taking employee salaries is not going to fix the deficit. Does anyone remember how it was done under Clinton? The record deficit was eliminated in record time. As a matter of fact, it was turned into surpluses for the federal government and the states as well.

BTW my organization uses contractors for Project Management as well. They’re paying at minimum $163 an hour, $326,000 annually. I currently make about a third of that with salary and benefits. Seventy five percent of my organization is comprised of contractors and the same positions have been here for more than 12 years. How do you think the government can save money? Hmmmmm…

Posted by: JustAThought10 | January 14, 2011 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Don't talk to me about the relatively small savings from such a furlough, coming on the heels of the extension of massive tax cuts for millionaires. That move proved once and for all that these people aren't at all serious about cutting the deficit. This is all about showboating and scapegoating.

(And to the person who said that the snowstorm shutdowns last year had no impact, you are wrong. To the extent that we weren't telecommuting or working offline at home, a lot of federal employees had to scramble to catch up afterward.)

Posted by: Janine1 | January 14, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I've got news for the extremist Republican party:

Now that you have some actual power again (the House) you won't be able to get away with spending all of your time throwing verbal bombs at the Dems, going golfing and then hitting the DC cocktail circuit at night every day.


You either CREATE JOBS or you will be gone in 2012 so fast that your heads will spin.

Chop chop Repugs!


You've got two years!


Time's a wastin'!


.

Posted by: DrainYou | January 14, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

These clowns that are in congress are totally out of touch with reality. It is very easy to suggest that someone take a pay cut or furlough as long as it doesn't have an impact on their income. It would be easy for the average federal worker to take a pay cut or furlough if their salaries and benefits were the same as congress.

Posted by: weldor | January 14, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Congressional salaries should definitely be cut; perhaps even by 15%. But forcing federal workers to furlough for two weeks is a bit extreme. I'm not a federal worker, but a two work furlough would hurt most of the middle class. In this fragile economy, I'm not sure that is a good idea. I'm totally in favor of cutting the federal work force over the long term, but right now we need to look at many small cuts, not less huge cuts that adversely affect the quality of life so many.

Posted by: brandip_77 | January 14, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Federal workers should pay attention to whats happening with private sector before crying "woe is me". Output will be the same regardless...

Posted by: slydell | January 14, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

On average a congressional staffer has received an annual 8% pay raise. How much money do you think secretary in Congress makes? I'll bet it's a lot more than private industry. How about we the people force these blowhard politicians to make that 0%, then cut their pay and benefits and give them a 2 week unpaid furlough. Let's not let them go on anymore "fact finding missions" which is really just a family vacation for these bozos and we get stuck with the bill. Lets' cut foreign aid, we need it. Let's vote them all out and vote people in who are in touch with reality because the current congress clearly is not.

Posted by: el_dude | January 15, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Republicans claim that feds are overpaid compared to private industry. BS! I used to work for a Federal Contractor in IT. I'm a fed now and when I went to work for the Government I took a $25000.00 pay cut. It took many years to get back to the pay I made in private industry so the Republicans numbers are skewed. I'm sure it's to the benefit of their Federal Contractor friends. We have contractors at our site who get offered Government jobs and won't take them because they can't afford the pay cut. If they are close to retirement they'll take the job for 5 years so they can have decent insurance when they retire. Those are the FACTS Republicans.

Posted by: el_dude | January 15, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Until we have a congress and a president that learn to say "no" to special interests groups the federal workforce will have to continue to grow to meet the demand. Each year congress continues to pass legislation that causes many federal agencies to have to hire more employees to implement. Tax law is just one example of this, CCT, EIC, ACTC. Health Care, RRC, ESP, and the list goes on and on. Each year the IRS is forced to hire thousands more employees than it did the previous year to continue to implement the social programs that our legislators enact and strongarm the IRS to implement. The main purpose of the IRS should be to collect taxes, however, over the past several years we have continued to become a "Federal Welfare System". Until congress gets on board with getting back to basics the size of the Federal workforce will continue to need to grow! Come on guys, lets stop the insanity!!!

Posted by: IRSTA | January 18, 2011 9:28 AM | Report abuse

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