Lawmakers criticize growth of federal workforce

Just days after the House and Senate struck down provisions to save money by cutting federal employees' pay, some Republican lawmakers now are looking to shrink the size of the government workforce.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., attacked the U.S. job numbers for May released Friday, pointing out that of the 431,000 jobs created last month, 411,000 -- 95 percent -- were federal jobs relating to the census.

"It's clear that the only thing benefiting from the economic policies of the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress is the government," Issa said.

Another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., is pushing a bill aimed at reversing the growth of the federal workforce that she says has occurred since President Obama took office.

According to Lummis, the federal civilian workforce has grown by 188,000, or about 15 percent, since 2008, not including temporary census-related hires. Her bill, the 2010 Federal Workforce Reduction Act (H.R. 5348), would allow the government to hire only one employee for every two workers who leave, with exemptions for the Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs departments.

"This unprecedented government growth is not the answer to getting the country's economy going again," Lummis said in a statement. "Big government, with its long arm, taxes and overreaching mandates, gets in the way of our small businesses and entrepreneurs. Small businesses and entrepreneurs are the engine of our economy and should not be crowded out by unchecked government growth."

Lummis said the legislation "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," and argued it would save taxpayers $3.5 billion in 2011 and $35 billion over 10 years.

Under the bill, agencies essentially would compete for the ability to hire new employees. The president would establish a federal workforce hiring pool, the size of which would fluctuate depending on the number of employees who retired or left federal service, and agencies would have to submit a request to the president to hire from within the pool. Lummis said this would require agencies to justify all new hires.

The legislation also would require regular disclosure of all new hires, organized by agency, to the public and Congress.

Max Stier, president of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, said in a statement that while business as usual is not good enough for government given the serious fiscal challenges the country faces, Lummis' bill is not the right answer.

"History has shown that governmentwide hiring freezes result neither in smaller nor more effective government," Stier said. "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."

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

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

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

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