Joe Belanger / Shutterstock.com

Four-Year Pay Freeze, Workforce Cuts and Other Ideas From New Presidential Contenders

Three Republicans and two Democrats join crowded 2016 field with their own ideas for changing government.

Five more presidential hopefuls have become official contenders in the last week, and with them come a slew of new ideas for reforming federal agencies and their workforces.

Three Republicans threw their hats into the ring for the 2016 race: former senator and 2012 presidential contender Rick Santorum, R-Pa.; former Gov. George Pataki, R-N.Y.; and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee, who has served as mayor, senator and governor in Rhode Island, became the third and fourth Democrats to officially make a bid for the White House.

O’Malley and Pataki have both been eager to talk up their executive experience to demonstrate what they would do as president. The former New York governor said during a speech just before announcing his campaign that one of his first acts as president would be to reduce the size of the federal workforce “by at least 15 percent.”

“It’s too big,” Pataki said. “We have too many bureaucrats, too many federal workers. It has to be scaled back.” He said once he overturned Obamacare, reined in the Environmental Protection Agency and ended Common Core, his administration would be well on its way to meeting the 15 percent goal.

“There are those that will be saying, ‘Well you can’t do that,’ ” Pataki said. “I know we can, because when I became governor of New York I saw the same thing,” he added, noting he reduced the number of New York state employees by 25,000 -- more than 15 percent of the state’s workforce -- during his governorship.

Pataki also spoke of the need to “end the use of political government bureaucrats” at the Internal Revenue Service, which would also help to cut the size of the overall workforce. The IRS has been a familiar target for Republican candidates, and Santorum joined the chorus of those calling for its elimination during his campaign announcement. In his last presidential bid, the former Pennsylvania lawmaker also proposed doing away with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

O’Malley, meanwhile, has spoken often of the need to move toward “data-driven governance,” citing his initiatives to do so both as Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor. The liberal Democrat has been trumpeting his performance benchmarking record since he was first elected governor.

“It is a system of open and transparent administration that actually sets goals and has guts to measure progress toward achieving those goals,” O’Malley said in 2007.

In a recent address at the Brookings Institution, O’Malley discussed the importance of bringing that strategy to the federal level to restore faith in government.

“The old ways of governing -- bureaucracy and hierarchy -- are fading away, and a new way is emerging,” O’Malley said. Those policies will include setting clear goals, measuring progress and “simply getting things done.”

Not surprisingly, the Republicans held a different view of the future of government. In 2012, Santorum said the federal government “kills jobs” and free people should grow the economy, not government. He has also, controversially, advocated for a larger role for religion in federal agencies.

Pataki, meanwhile, called the size of government an “enormous threat.”

“They think they have the right and ability to run our lives and tell us how to lead our lives,” he said last month.

Graham has voiced some support in recent years for the role of government in his opposition to sequestration, though his concerns rested mostly in the cuts to the Defense Department. The senator has also pushed some interesting ideas for federal pay and benefits.

In 1996, when he was first elected to the House, one of the first bills Graham authored was a measure to exempt federal agencies’ contractors from overtime compensation. As a senator in 2012, Graham cosponsored legislation to end Medicare in its current form and instead give all seniors access to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. He has consistently pushed for more health care coverage for reservists. His love for all things military carried over to federal law enforcement in 2003, when he introduced a bill to ensure the group’s due process rights.

Chafee, while still a Republican, also fought for the rights of federal law enforcement officers. In 2002, the then-senator brokered a compromise bill to ensure collective bargaining rights for employees at the newly formed Homeland Security Department.

Through the group Patriot Voices, which Santorum founded three years ago, the 2012 Republican runner-up also advocated significant changes to federal employees’ compensation. His group supports a four-year pay freeze for the federal workforce. It also called for a 10 percent workforce reduction for non-Defense related feds with no compensatory increase in the contract workforce. Santorum has also endorsed phasing out the defined benefit plans for “newer” federal workers.

Chafee too has a history of calling for pension reforms, ushering through an overhaul in Rhode Island that ended former state employees’ cost-of-living adjustments and raised the retirement age.

Recent polling suggests all five of the newest contenders are long shots, but expect to hear some of these issues resurface as they look to climb above the competition. 

(Image via  / Shutterstock.com)

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.