The platform Republicans adopted at their Tampa convention Tuesday doesn’t go into great detail on important issues affecting the federal workforce, but what the planks do say is enough to raise the ire of labor leaders.
The most specific call is for “a reduction, through attrition, in the federal payroll of at least 10 percent.” The document does not indicate if that would affect all agencies equally or if some would take a bigger hit than others.
“Cutting the federal workforce would undermine the services that the American people depend on and want,” Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said Wednesday. “From protecting our borders to safeguarding our nuclear plants to protecting our agriculture, these services are vital to our nation. A 10 percent across-the-board cut would mean that these vital services that the American people want would not be delivered.”
The platform also calls for “the adjustment of pay scales and benefits to reflect those of the private sector.” That would mean a 26 percent pay raise if Republicans base their policy on government data, but they don’t. Instead, as my colleague Eric Yoder pointed out in an earlier Federal Eye post, Republicans prefer to cite a report from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that says federal workers are overpaid by at least 30 percent.
Republicans say Transportation Security Administration (TSA) procedures “and much of its personnel — need to be changed. It is now a massive bureaucracy of 65,000 employees who seem to be accountable to no one for the way they treat travelers.”
TSA officers screen passengers and baggage at the nation’s airports. The platform calls for “the private sector to take over airport screening wherever feasible.”
American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox said the platform shows the GOP is willing to take “a hacksaw to federal programs that everyone in this country relies on.” The TSA plank, he added, means Republicans would “outsource our national security to profit-driven private sector companies.”
Previous columns by Joe Davidson are available at wapo.st/JoeDavidson.