Top Republicans on the House and Senate armed services committees (Rep. Buck McKeon of California and Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, respectively) are among those who have joined stalwart defense hawks like Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona to propose this one-year fix: Slash the federal workforce instead of making all the other cuts (in the process staving off $42.7 billion in cuts to the US military this fiscal year).
The defense hawks would shrink the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition – or about 210,000 positions. Federal agencies would be allowed to hire one person for every three who leave, netting $85 billion in savings over 10 years. The bill also freezes lawmakers’ pay.
Such a hiring regimen would allow each federal agency to direct new hires to its most vital divisions instead of instituting across-the-board cuts. The lawmakers propose a fix for a single year, in the hope that a broader compromise might be reached within that period.
“To the president: We bear responsibility as Republicans for allowing this to happen,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina said in early February at a press conference introducing the bill. “Lead us to a better solution. If you do not, Mr. President, you will go down in history, in my view, as one of the most irresponsible commanders in chief in the history of the country because what you will have done, Mr. President, is you will have allowed the finest military in the history of the world to deteriorate at a time when we need it the most.”