Proposal Aims to Offset Costs of Sequestration through Staff Reductions

December 19, 2011

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., has proposed legislation that would reduce the number of federal employees by 10 percent through attrition to offset spending cuts forced by sequestration in fiscal 2013.

The Down Payment to Protect National Security Act would cut the federal workforce by 10 percent over the next 10 years through attrition and apply those savings toward one year of spending cuts imposed by sequestration, including both defense and nondefense spending, according to a statement from McKeon.

He proposed achieving the reduction by hiring one federal worker for every three who retire. The proposal comes as lawmakers in both chambers look for ways to offset the effects of the $500 billion in cuts to military spending the Pentagon faces as a result of the deficit super committee's failure in November to find $1.2 trillion in savings.

"It is time we address our debt crisis sensibly, by literally shrinking the size of government," McKeon said in a statement. "At the same time, we will meet our commitment to saving $1.2 trillion over 10 years."

He estimated the proposal would save $127 billion as a down payment on national security spending: $55 billion in savings available specifically to offset defense cuts as a result of sequestration in fiscal 2013, another $55 billion to cover the nondefense cuts required and $17 billion for deficit reduction

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