Kelley Warns Proposed Legislation Would Have Negative Consequences on Federal Agencies


1/14/2011: A bill proposed in the House this week would implement drastic cuts across the federal government with little concern for resulting negative consequences and would seriously undermine critical services to the American people, NTEU National President Colleen Kelley said today.

“This legislation includes draconian measures that undermine the federal workforce,” said President Kelley. “This bill would reduce federal agencies’ abilities to meet their missions and would likely result in administrative delays, fewer staff to handle increasing workloads, longer phone waits and lines, and fewer resources to handle everything from food safety to social security disability claims.”

H.R. 235, introduced by Rep. Kevin Brady (Tex.), selectively includes proposals made by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform in December, which target the federal workforce. The legislation includes extending the current two-year freeze of federal pay to three years, reducing the federal workforce by 10 percent, and creating redundant measures for collecting unpaid taxes from the federal workforce.

“The legislation uses the deficit commission proposals to attack the federal workforce, but ignores many commission proposals that would have a far greater impact on reducing our federal deficit, such as cuts to government contracting,” Kelley said.

Kelley pointed to inadequate staffing at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which had 7,500 food safety inspections in 2009. That is down dramatically from 35,000 in 1978. Additionally, FDA’s Medical Device Center personnel have declined from 1,450 in 2003 to just 1,350 last year, despite a more complex and demanding workload.

Kelley also noted that homeland security agencies such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) already face a lack of adequate staffing.

“The proposals would leave federal agencies understaffed and underfunded, which has serious consequences to the American public,” Kelley said.