Lawmaker seeks federal hiring freeze

A House lawmaker reintroduced a bill late last week that would freeze hiring governmentwide except at the Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs departments.

The Federal Workforce Reduction Act would reduce the size of the federal workforce by attrition: only one hire for every two employees who retire or leave service. It also would require agencies to justify their new hires and the administration to disclose all new employees by agency. The president would be able to hire an employee in the interest of national security or in the event of an "extraordinary emergency," according to the bill. The freeze would stay in effect until the federal deficit is resolved, according to the legislation.

Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., the bill's sponsor, introduced the same legislation last year.

Lummis said the 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 GOP and the federal deficit commission have called on the Obama administration to reduce the civilian head count by up to 15 percent through attrition.

National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley called the legislation "misguided," saying, "Rather than address the nation's deficit, this bill would force agencies to rely more heavily on unaccountable and expensive private contractors, resulting in higher costs to taxpayers, poor services and questionable transactions."

The Wyoming Republican introduced the legislation just days before President Obama released his fiscal 2012 budget, which proposes increasing federal employment next year by as many as 15,000 new civilian employees. There are about 2.1 million workers in the federal government.

The budget request proposes that most of the new employees go to security agencies. The bump would come on the heels of a decrease in federal employment this year, meaning that even if lawmakers enacted Obama's proposal, government would still have 12,000 fewer civilian employees in fiscal 2012 than in fiscal 2010.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.