Press Release

July 12, 2011
Radical proposals like privatizing federal workers should be rejected

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of both the Senate Budget and Finance Committees, today called on his colleagues to recognize the ongoing financial sacrifices federal workers have made during our economic crisis.  On Tuesday, Senator Cardin submitted an amendment (S. Amdt 544) to S. 1323 that expresses the sense of the Senate to protect the federal workforce in pay, retirement and composition; advocates maintaining pay and benefits at rates that incentivize talented Americans to join the Federal workforce; and rejecting radical proposals that would harm our nation, including reducing the size of the current workforce by privatizing Federal jobs and other means. S. 1323 urges an end to tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires as part of the deficit reduction talks.

Senator Cardin submitted his amendment one day after his visit to Bethesda National Naval Medical Center and the headquarters of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  According to the White House, the federal-worker pay freeze will save $28 billion in the next five years.  It will save $60 billion in the next 10 years.  Chairman Conrad’s budget blueprint would reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next 10 years without further compromising federal workers’ compensation. 

“We need a balanced and fair solution to our budget problems and that will require sacrifices from each and every one of us.  But Federal employees have already made a significant contribution to deficit reduction with the two-year pay freeze President Obama implemented. We should not expect them to make even larger sacrifices by attacking their pension and health benefits.  Federal workers should not bear the brunt of America’s economic burden,” said Senator Cardin.

“I am proud to support the Democratic budget framework that shows we can continue our commitment to wounded warriors and support dedicated public servants, like the 17,000 workers at NIH, while addressing our deficit and maintaining responsible budgeting. We can do this without penalizing the federal worker or jeopardizing our economic growth.  Republicans refuse to acknowledge the exemplary service of dedicated civilian employees who support our troops, combat terrorism, protect our borders, assist our wounded warriors, and perform other critically important jobs.

“Some Republicans want to dismantle the federal workforce through wholesale attrition and privatization.  They want to demoralize the workers while refusing to acknowledge that private contractors cost, on average, 25 percent more per employee each year than hiring a civil servant to do the job. Federal employees have answered the call and made sacrifices when asked. My amendment calls on the Senate to say ‘Enough is enough.’”

Text of Senator Cardin’s amendment to protect federal workers follows:


Purpose: To express the sense of the Senate of support for the Federal workforce.


S. 1323

To express the sense of the Senate on shared sacrifice in resolving the budget deficit.

AMENDMENT intended to be proposed by Mr. CARDIN

At the end of the bill, add the following:



It is the sense of the Senate that—

(1)   the pay, retirement benefits, and composition of Federal employees needs to be preserved;

(2)   Federal employees have already made significant contributions toward deficit reduction with the Federal employee pay freeze;

(3)   it is necessary to maintain Federal employee pay and benefits at rates that incentivize talented Americans to join the Federal workforce;

(4)   it is important to have the best and brightest individuals working for the Federal Government;

(5)   radical proposals that would harm our Nation should be rejected, including the proposal of reducing the current Federal workforce by attrition and privatizing Federal jobs;

(6)   privatizing Federal jobs can lead to complex, expensive results as noted by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; and

(7)   private contractors cost on average 25 percent more per employee each year compared to the cost of hiring a civil servant.