GOP budget plan cuts fed workforce, freezes pay for 3 years

Updated April 18, 2011. This story has been corrected to state a three-year freeze instead of a five-year freeze. Comments in the press conference noted a five-year freeze.

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

House Republicans unveiled a plan Tuesday that would cut the federal workforce by 10 percent in the next three years through attrition and freeze federal pay for three years.

The plan – called the Path to Prosperity – would also reform government workers’ “generous benefit programs,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) in a press conference Tuesday.

The House plan far exceeds the $1 trillion in cuts in President Obama’s fiscal year 2012 budget plan released in February.

The Path to Prosperity would also incorporate Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ plan to target DoD inefficiencies, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Monday.

“Look, the facts are very, very clear. For too long Washington has not been honest with the American people. Washington has been making empty promises to a country that is going broke,” Ryan said at the Tuesday press conference.

The Path to Prosperity would impose “enforceable caps” on spending and “make sure government spends and taxes only as much as it needs to fulfill its constitutionally prescribed roles,” Ryan wrote in his op-ed.

The plan would set spending at below 20 percent of gross domestic product and put the country on a path to pay off the national debt, reducing the deficit by $4.4 trillion, Ryan said Tuesday.

The $6.2 trillion in savings would actually be less when measured against the Congressional Budget Office “baseline.”

Ryan’s budget would also incorporate President Obama’s assumption that overseas military operations will soon cost just $50 billion a year rather than current levels that are roughly three times that amount.

The budget proposal would begin Oct. 1, the beginning of the 2012 fiscal year.

House Democrats will soon unveil their own version of a 2012 budget as an alternative to the GOP plan, said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Budget Committee, The Hill reports.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are currently embroiled in a budget impasse to keep government operating beyond the stopgap spending bill ending Friday. If Congress fails to reach an agreement this week, the government could face a partial shutdown.

Ryan said Tuesday that he did not want a government shutdown, but added, “We also don’t want to rubber-stamp high, big spending.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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