Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sent a letter to Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), urging them to protect federal employees in the Senate and House Budget Resolutions conference.

In the letter, Sen. Carper asks the Senators to oppose provisions in the House budget resolution that would make cuts to the federal workforce and to federal pay and benefits in the upcoming budget.

“One of my top priorities since coming to the Senate 14 years ago has been to find ways to get better results for less money throughout our federal government,” Sen. Carper said. “We have challenged agencies to achieve more with less. As we strive to do that across government, we must also ensure that strategic human capital management is part of the solution and does not fall victim to short-sighted measures that will lead to bigger problems and worse outcomes in the future. As we continue to institute cost-saving measures that I believe are essential to our nation’s fiscal future, it is important that we do so in a way that does not target federal employees and does not undermine agencies’ ability to attract and retain a workforce with right mix of skills and experience.”

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has included federal workforce strategic human capital management as a high risk area in its annual High Risk List since 2001. According to GAO, this area appears repeatedly on the list due to longstanding leadership failures to ensure that federal agencies have a robust workforce. Today, gaps remain in critical workforce skills necessary for agencies to cost-effectively serve the public and meet their vital missions.

The text of the letter is below.


The Honorable Mike Enzi                                    
Chairman                                                                  
Committee on the Budget                                        
624 Dirksen Senate Office Building                        
Washington, DC 20510                                           

The Honorable Bernie Sanders
Ranking Member
Committee on the Budget
624 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Enzi and Ranking Member Sanders:

As you continue your efforts to conference the Senate and House Budget Resolutions, allow me to draw your attention to some of the serious consequences that would arise from the adoption of House reconciliation instructions or other provisions requiring further cuts to the federal workforce, federal pay and benefits, and other programs that support the workforce.  

In its recent High Risk report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) once again identified federal workforce strategic human capital management as a high risk area. The GAO emphasizes that a strategic approach to acquiring, developing, and retaining federal employees with key skills is an essential part of ensuring that  agencies can cost-effectively carry out their missions and respond to challenges. Unfortunately, long-term fiscal pressures and the coming wave of retirements across government are likely to produce gaps in leadership, critical knowledge, and skills.  GAO points out that these gaps can threaten the government’s ability to address a wide range of our priorities as a country, including cybersecurity and other national security challenges.  This Administration, individual agencies, and Congress have taken important steps to manage the workforce more strategically and effectively, but we must do much more to enhance the government’s ability to recruit and retain the critical personnel needed to meet agencies’ missions, irrespective of the size of the agency. 

In my two years as Chairman of HSGAC, and now as its Ranking Member, we have made progress in passing vital government-wide efficiency and effectiveness legislation that will yield direct savings, reduce spending, curb waste and improve efficiency.  One of my top priorities since coming to the Senate 14 years ago has been to find ways to get better results for less money throughout our federal government.  We have challenged agencies to achieve more with less, but as we continue to do that we must also strive to ensure that strategic human capital management is part of the solution and does not fall victim to short-sighted measures that will lead to even greater long-term problems. 

Federal employees have already contributed approximately $120 billion to deficit reduction over the past few years with a three year pay freeze, increased contributions to the federal employees’ retirement system, and furloughs at some agencies due to sequestration.  As we continue to institute cost-saving measures that I believe are essential to our nation’s fiscal future, it is important that we do so in a way that does not target federal employees and does not undermine agencies’ ability to attract and retain a workforce with the mix of skills and experience that will be needed if America is to continue to be a world leader in the 21st Century.

Thank you very much for your consideration of my views. 
 

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