Two Republican House representatives have introduced legislation that would cut the federal workforce through attrition and enact hiring freezes if an agency fails to comply with the law.
The bill — Federal Workforce Reduction through Attrition Act — was introduced by Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming and Mick Mulvaney from South Carolina. The lawmakers claim it will save the government $35 billion over five years and it would not eliminate the jobs of any current federal workers.
However, it would place restrictions on federal agency’s ability to hire new workers. Agencies will be able to hire only one new employee for every three employees that either retire or leave the federal workforce, according to a statement published on the congresswoman’s website.
If a federal agency refuses to adhere to this ratio, a hiring freeze would be placed on the scofflaw agency.
“We’ve racked up over $18 trillion in debt simply because Washington has no idea when to stop spending,” said Rep. Lummis said in a statement. “Attrition is a solution that requires the federal government to do what any business, state, or local government would do to cut costs — limit new hires.”
The law also requires a “net 10 percent reduction in the civilian federal workforce.” This reduction does not include postal employees and it must be achieved by Sept. 30, 2016. After that date, federal agencies must hold to that 10 percent reduction in workforce.
The bill was introduced on January 20. It has been referred to House Committee on Oversight and Government.
As with all bills introduced in Congress, it is difficult to predict whether this proposal will make its way through Congress and onto the president’s desk.
However, Republican control of both branches of Congress may give it some traction. Though it is unclear how the Obama Administration may feel about enacting cuts to federal workers and potentially hamstringing federal agencies labor needs.
Notably, the bill preserves the right of the president to hire workers in the event of war, national security issues, and any other “extraordinary emergency threatening life, health, safety, or property.”
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