As a means to avoid sequestration, Republican members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees recently introduced legislation calling for reductions in the federal workforce. Representative Buck McKeon (R-Cali.) and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), the lead sponsors of the bills, call for workforce reductions in the Down Payment to Protect National Security Act (H.R. 593/S. 263). Under the legislation, for every three employee that leave the civil service, federal agencies will only replace one. According to Senator Ayotte, this would result in $85 billion in savings.
Commenting on the legislation, Senator Ayotte stated, “We can prevent the first year of sequestration without raising taxes. The legislation I’m introducing today does just that by replacing these reductions with common sense savings found elsewhere in the federal budget.” The legislation’s ten percent attrition rate would only occur at the agency level, allowing for more flexibility in regards to where cuts will come. The bill also allots for attrition to be waived for reasons of national security.
The bill only avoids cuts in the short term, and does not address sequestration beyond its initial year. Congressional Democrats have come out against the legislation. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer commented, “From defending our nation to promoting the safety and well-being of Americans, federal workers provide countless services to our country. It is simply unfair and unwise to target America’s public servants after they have already accepted a two-year pay freeze, an increased pension contribution, and a reduction and delay of a cost-of-living-adjustment this year.”
H.R. 593 has been referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the House Budget Committee, and the House Appropriations Committee. S. 263 has been referred to the Senate Budget Committee. House and Senate Armed Services Committee members introduced similar legislation in the 112th Congress, however, those bills failed to move out of committee in both chambers.
For more information on H.R. 593 and S. 263, please visit: http://thomas.loc.gov.