Feds Up The River: Nile or Potomac Style

Wednesday - 2/9/2011, 3:58am EST

In Egypt, the government-in-power (in a bid to remain as the government-in-power) is proposing a 15 percent pay raise for that country's six-million public employees.

Somewhat different approach here...

In the U.S., federal workers face a somewhat less attractive situation. At issue, at least in the House of Representatives, is whether to whack more than two-million federal civil servants with a baseball bat or to use a large crow bar to impose fiscal discipline.

We don't know how things will play out in Cairo but here on the banks of the Potomac the scenario is as follows:

  • The 175-member Republican Study Committee wants to stretch the current two-year federal pay freeze through 2015 and to cut the non-postal federal workforce 15 percent using normal attrition. If it became law, the RSC's recommendations would also mean that feds who are behind, big time, in their federal taxes would be fired. (Whether this applies to members of Congress and cabinet officers is unclear).
  • A bill by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) would extend the pay freeze through 2013 and reduce federal employment by 10 percent via attrition. Another plan, by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) calls for a two week furlough of non-essential/non-emergency federal workers. Figuring out who works and gets paid and who takes a 20 percent hit would be determined at a later date.

Meantime, federal agencies are operating without budgets under a continuing resolution because the last Congress failed to accomplish one of its primary missions - budget and appropriate.

Also, the U.S. Postal Service has serious downsizing plans.

With all the talk of downsizing, lots of feds are asking about the possibility of buyouts coupled with early-out offers. And what does a smaller government do to the Obama administration's previously announced plans to insource "inherently governmental" jobs that were farmed out to the private sector by the Clinton and Bush administrations?

We hope to get some answers and an update today on our Your Turn show. Guests are Federal Times editor Steve Watkins and senior correspondent Steve Losey. They will also talk about the upcoming union election in the Transporatation Security Administration, the future of insourcing/outsourcing, the impact of the extended CR on Defense and other agencies, and get a sneak peek at the president's upcoming budget.

AFGE On The Hill

The American Federation of Government Employees union is holding its legislative-grassroots mobilization conference here this week. Members from all over the country fanned out over Capitol Hill this week with district congressional breakfasts followed up by a series of one-on-one conferences with members of Congress, staffers and rank-and-file union leaders.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

According to The Independent, "between 15 and 40 percent of clothes (different stores have different rates) bought online are returned."

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