The White House once again has signaled its intent to downsize the federal workforce, following a call in the hiring freeze memo for a long-term reduction, still undefined. The first firm proposals may come within a matter of weeks as the Trump administration releases its budget plan for the remainder of the current fiscal year–a funding measure covering most agencies carries only through April 28–and for the new fiscal year starting in October, as well. Said a spokesman, “When it comes to the spending side, again, you’re looking at a whole-of-government approach at how we look at every department, every agency, every job … How do we make sure that we’re looking at are these positions necessary? Are they duplicative? Are we using taxpayer money in the best possible way? … He’s looking at everything and figuring out if we can make it more effective and efficient.” Also in late April OPM and OMB are to produce a long-term plan to reduce the workforce by attrition, a plan that could incorporate many of the elements of the general hiring freeze while setting a specific reduction goal. Those budget plans also could endorse fundamental changes in the federal retirement and health insurance programs, which the administration has criticized as too generous; some GOP leaders in Congress are suggesting reducing government contributions toward FEHB, requiring employees to pay more into the retirement system, and providing those hired after a future date to be determined with no annuity benefit but rather only a potentially enhanced TSP benefit.
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