Congress Should Look At Reducing Federal Workforce ‘Across the Board,’ Republican Says

December 3, 2010 - 6:13 AM

Sen. Jim DeMint

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

( - Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Thursday declined to say whether salaries of federal employees should be cut, but he did say that Congress needs to look at “a reduction of federal employees across the board.”

For the year 2009, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that federal worker compensation including benefits averaged $123,049, which was more than double the private sector average (with benefits) of $61,051. cited these statistics in a question to Sen. DeMint and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) at a press conference on Capitol Hill, asking whether they support a cut to federal employees’ salaries.

“I am concerned that more and more government employees are getting increases as Americans are having to sacrifice,” said DeMint.

“The president has made a good move talking about a freeze, but I think we need to do a lot more than that, not just to cut salaries but to look at a reduction of federal employees across the board,” said DeMint. “It’s not fair to come in to someone that was hired at one rate and say we’re going to cut it for political reasons. But I do think we need to look at devolving things out of Washington, cutting federal employees, and that’s a bigger discussion than what we plan to take on today.”

Rep. Pence did not respond.

Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for 2009 also showed that the average salary for federal employees excluding benefits was $81,258 and $50,462 for workers in the private sector, excluding benefits.

Debt Commission, Al Simpson

Former Sen. Al Simpson, a Republican, speaks at the annual meeting of the National Governors Association on Sunday, July 11, 2010, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

President Barack Obama has proposed freezing federal workers’ pay for two years, which would reportedly save $2 billion in fiscal year 2011 and $28 billion over five years. During a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, asked former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wy.) and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, co-chairs of the White House deficit commission, whether they support cutting the salaries of federal employees.

“We definitely believe there at least ought to be a freeze,” said Bowles.

Sen. Simpson then added, “Including my pension and other government pensions, all of them.”