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Defense bill measure would trim DoD civilian, contractor employees

Dec. 4, 2012 - 12:52PM   |  
By STEVEN WATKINS   |   Comments
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., proposed an amendment to remove a provision in the Defense authorization bill that would cut DoD civilian and contractor staffs.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., proposed an amendment to remove a provision in the Defense authorization bill that would cut DoD civilian and contractor staffs. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

The Senate may wrap up work Tuesday night on the 2013 Defense authorization bill, Senate aides say.

The bill — if passed by Congress — would trim civilian employee positions and contractor employee positions at the Defense Department by 5 percent over five years.

The provision that would cut DoD civilian and contractor staffs — which would save $5 billion through 2017 —was sponsored by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and was intended to mirror planned reductions in military personnel end strengths. A statement released last week by the Office of Management and Budget said President Obama’s top advisers would recommend that he veto the bill because of this and other provisions.

“The administration believes the size of the civilian workforce should be determined based on workload and funding, not on arbitrary comparisons to the military,” the OMB statement said. “To comply with this legislation, the Department would need to significantly divest workload and impose workforce caps.”

On Friday, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., proposed an amendment to remove that provision in the Defense authorization bill. The Senate rejected the amendment.

A previous Federal Times story erroneously reported that the Senate later passed the same Cardin amendment.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., one of the senators leading the Senate debate and vote on the Defense authorization bill, hopes to wrap up the Senate’s work on the bill by Tuesday night and move to a House-Senate conference on Wednesday, where differences in the two versions of the bill will be hammered out, according to Levin’s spokeswoman, Tara Andringa.

The House-passed version of the bill does not have comparable language for civilian and contractor cuts.

Sean Reilly contributed to this report.

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