Joe Davidson & Eric Yoder report in the Washington Post:

“The House budget proposal released Tuesday continues Republican efforts to cut federal employees’ compensation by making them pay more for retirement benefits.

Saying they seek “reforms to civil service pensions to put them on a better fiscal path,” the spending plan released by the House Budget Committee calls on staffers “to make greater contributions to their own defined benefit retirement plans.”

While the Republican’s “Plan for Fiscal Responsibility” did not provide details, it echoes previous proposals, including one offered by President Trump this year. He proposed increasing individual out-of-pocket payments toward retirement by 1 percentage point each year until they equal the government’s contribution for those in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

Over a six-year period, this would result in increased payments of about 6 percent. With no increase in benefits, that would equal a 6 percent drop in pay.

The budget “blueprint” assumes that the main panel overseeing federal employment in the House will take those steps to find the $32 billion in savings over 10 years that the blueprint would require.

The budget plan released by Committee Chairwoman Diane Black (R-Tenn.) also would end the “special retirement supplement,” which pays FERS employees “the equivalent of their Social Security benefit at an earlier age.”

“These plans put the ownership, flexibility, and portfolio risk on the employee as opposed to the employer,” the GOP document says. “Similarly, federal employees would have more control over their own retirement security under this option.”

Federal employee leaders sharply disagree.

“Slashing the pay and benefits of America’s civil servants while lining the pockets of the wealthiest of the wealthy is a shameful way to govern the country and is emblematic of everything that’s wrong with this horrible budget,” said J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees.”


Read the complete article with charts at the above link.

These guys are shameless. The USG’s career civil service was once a “model program” that states, private employers, and even other countries sought to emulate. It produced an overall talented, motivated, honest, and effective workforce. And, the promise of an adequate, stable, and predictable retirement program underwritten by Uncle Sam was an important part of that success.

The GOP proposes to end all of that and turn the USG into just another lousy employer more interested in his or her own welfare than the well-being of the employees who are the heart and soul of the business. Shifting risk from the “big guys” like the Government, who can actually leverage investment and insurance markets and raise revenues when necessary, to individual employees who are much less well positioned to bear that risk is immoral, not to mention stupid. You get what you pay for. Reducing government employment to the lowest common denominator will essentially make us a third world country.

I dealt with this in Immigration Court all the time. The main difference between the U.S. and countries folks were fleeing (many of which had plenty of natural and human resources) was the lack of government structure and the inability or unwillingness of government to be an “honest broker” serving the needs of the people at large. In too many countries, corrupt governments are seen as primarily furthering the power and interests of those at the “top of the pile” and keeping everyone else in line.

We once had a President who sought to create a U.S. Government of “the best and the brightest.” Sadly, those days are long gone. Ultimately, all of us, and particularly those who come after us, will pay the price for the GOP’s endemic lack of vision and decency and their failure to honor and appreciate the massive contributions of career civil servants to to overall success of our nation.




Washington Post: Q&As On Fed Hiring Freeze — Many DOJ Employees (Including Immigration Courts) Might Be Exempt — Employees On Board On 01-22-17 NOT Affected!

“Are all federal employees affected?

No. The wording of his memorandum exempts “military personnel” and says “the head of any executive department or agency may exempt from the hiring freeze any positions that it deems necessary to meet national security or public safety responsibilities.”

“Military personnel” generally refers to those in uniform, but if Trump also means civilian employees of the Defense Department, that alone would exclude about a third of the workforce.

Exempting public safety could wall off much of other large agencies such as the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. If public safety includes public health workers, more would be excluded.

. . . .

How would a freeze be implemented?

Trump’s order says “no vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances.” The directors of the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management were told to “recommend a long-term plan to reduce the size of the Federal Government’s workforce through attrition. This order shall expire upon implementation of the OMB plan.” The memorandum also “does not revoke any appointment to Federal service made prior to January 22, 2017.”


Looks like understaffed Immigration Courts might be able to continue hiring.  But, can’t tell for sure at this point.  If somebody out there has more specific information relating to Immigration Court hiring, please let me know.



House GOP Ramps Up Assault On Our Government — Bill Would End Merit Civil Service And Reinstate Spoils System And Political Hackery — “Draining The Swamp?” — Heck No, The Alligators Are Crawling Out Of The Swamp And Threatening To Chew Up The Foundations Of Our Democracy!

Here’s what Post Fed columnist Joe Davidson had to say about  Rep. Todd Rokita’s (R-IN) bill to stifle the Federal workforce:

“Rokita’s bill makes the meaning of at-will status clear: “Such an employee may be removed or suspended, without notice or right to appeal, from service by the head of the agency at which such employee is employed for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all.”

Think about that.

Political appointees could fire civil servants for “no cause at all.”

That’s dangerous.

Civil service procedures can be long and frustrating, but they are designed to guard against arbitrary actions. Federal law governing the workforce permits disciplinary actions for “such cause as will promote the efficiency of the service.” At odds with the “at-will” power Rokita advocates, among the government’s long-standing merit system principles is one designed to “protect employees against favoritism, political coercion and arbitrary action and prohibit abuse of authority.”

The protections are not just there to protect federal employees. In fact, the most important beneficiaries of these protections are the nation’s citizens, taxpayers and residents. Civil service protections are designed to protect everyone against favoritism by political officials and politicized agencies. While political appointees carry out policies designed by elected leaders, federal agencies are charged with serving everyone without regard to their political affiliations. Allowing political officials to fire feds for no reason seriously damages the principle of a nonpartisan civil service.

Rokita introduced the legislation last year and said he plans to offer substantially the same measure soon.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, called the bill a “shortsighted, blatant attempt to undermine a merit-based workforce that would … usher in a return to the spoils system and mean the end of a professional, non-partisan federal workforce dedicated to serving everyone, not just political allies.”

Rokita argued that at-will employment is how the rest of America works. But the federal government is not just another enterprise. The government is a monopoly providing services, many involving life and death, to and funded by all Americans. They cannot take their business elsewhere if treated badly because they are blue when the red team is in power — or vice versa.”


So, while middle class Feds works hard every day to keep Social Security, health care, law enforcement, justice, transportation safety, financial accountability, recreation, education, etc. flowing out to the public at large, the guys who are supposed to be in charge of the “big picture” spend their time dissing, undermining, attacking and trying to create a system where tax dollars can be handed out to their cronies in a non-merit-based spoils system.

I remember when I was growing up, Federal Government employment was looked at as a model, with merit based selection and career advancement, decent, predictable benefits, reasonable, but by no means extravagant, pay, good working conditions, and overall teamwork between civil servants and their political leaders that should set an example for state and local governments and other American employers to emulate.  Today’s GOP advocates a “race to the bottom” approach whereby the Feds should adopt the least attractive practices of private industry to drive the best people into the private sector, thereby leaving the remaining jobs for GOP politicos to fill with their chosen hacks.  And this is “progress?”