Federal employee unions on Wednesday swiftly denounced a Republican plan to delay the steep budget cuts known as sequestration by cutting the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and other GOP lawmakers proposed legislation that would put sequestration off by only allowing the federal government to hire one new employee for every three who leave. This would save about $85 billion, the same amount sequestration is supposed to cut for the rest of fiscal 2013.
The American Federation of Government Employees, the National Treasury Employees Union, and the National Federation of Federal Employees lined up Wednesday afternoon to blast the idea. They all agreed that such cuts would be counterproductive and hamstring the government’s ability to perform crucial jobs like fight wildfires, protect food safety and guard the borders. And federal employees have already absorbed more than two years of frozen pay scales and increased pension contributions that contributed about $103 billion to deficit reduction.
AFGE National President J. David Cox called the bill “egregious legislation” that “would fatten defense contractor cronies while slashing federal jobs.” NTEU National President Colleen Kelley said cutting feds by 10 percent would be “foolhardy and would result in short staffing that could last for a decade.”
But NFFE National President William Dougan had the most colorful response:
Slashing the workforce to generate a year’s worth of savings is like cutting off your arm to lose weight for the prom.