More rumblings of the president’s anticipated budget cast a cloud of uncertainty for federal employees on March 13, as rumors of stark workforce cuts began to swirl.
A story from The Washington Post claims that the budget
— which will be unveiled on March 16 — calls for “a historic contraction of the federal workforce,” in the form of steep cuts in discretionary spending.
“This would be the first time the government has executed cuts of this magnitude — and all at once — since the drawdown following World War II,” the story said.
Economic analysts told the Post that the projected agency layoffs would reduce employment in the Washington metro area by 1.8 percent.
Speculation over the projected cuts’ impact on the workforce has abounded since the Office of Management and Budget released topline numbers on Feb. 27, calling for a $54 billion increase in defense spending, which would be offset by $462 billion in domestic spending.
The numbers portend double-digit cuts at numerous agencies — with EPA’s budget projected to be slashed as much as 25 percent — but agencies won’t get a sense of the exact figures until the Trump administration releases its spending budget this week.
Federal employee unions have railed against the proposed cuts ever since the Feb. 27 budget disclosure and have sought to mobilize a massive grassroots effort to sway Congress to kill the spending plan.
“Cutting the size of the federal government’s civilian workforce won’t make federal programs run better, erase our national debt or save taxpayers any money," American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox said in a statement.
"All it will do is increase our dependence on more expensive and less regulated private-sector contractors, and push more of the burden onto state and local governments that are struggling under the weight of unfunded mandates."
The National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon said in a statement that the cuts will drastically impact the government’s ability to provide essential services.
“Reports that the new administration will propose deep and indiscriminate budget cuts across multiple federal agencies should be alarming not just to those in the civil service but to taxpayers everywhere,” he said.
“Federal workers we represent are worried about their jobs and about the ability of their agencies to carry out their missions under such austere conditions: making sure our air and water are clean; inspecting new foods and medicines; shutting down financial scams that prey on consumers; maintaining our national parks; and safeguarding nuclear materials, just to name a few.”
Reardon reiterated NTEU's earlier call for its membership to rally Congress to reject the White House’s spending plan.