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John Boehner: If federal jobs are lost, 'So be it'

By Ed O'Keefe
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 15, 2011; 10:41 PM

House Speaker John Boehner dismissed concerns Tuesday about the potential for federal job cuts, saying he thinks the government can't afford to keep so many workers.

The Ohio Republican was asked at his weekly news conference about the prospect of federal job cuts if a House GOP plan to trim $100 billion in government spending passes.

"Over the last two years since President Obama has taken office, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs," Boehner said. "And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it. We're broke. It's time for us to get serious about how we're spending the nation's money."

The reporter who asked the question noted, however, that the government might have to pay federal unemployment assistance to laid-off workers, potentially adding more costs.

The Democratic National Committee and liberal groups seized on Boehner's comments as insensitive and counter to the "Where are the jobs?" mantra adopted by congressional Republican candidates during the 2010 elections.

"If this is the attitude of Speaker John Boehner when it comes to saving existing jobs, it's no surprise he's moving forward with draconian spending cuts that will cost even more," said Jesse Ferguson, a spokesman with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Nailing down the number of federal jobs created since January 2009 can be difficult and depends on who's counting and what workers are included in calculations.

President Obama's 2012 budget proposal, released Monday, reported the federal workforce is smaller relative to the population of the United States than in previous decades. Most of the workforce's growth in recent years has occurred at the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and Veterans Affairs.

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