With the Republican National Convention in full swing this week, the Republican party has released its 2016 platform to reaffirm the party’s principles. Some of the proposals would have a direct impact on the federal workforce. A summary of some of the ideas follows below.
Federal pay and benefits
On the subject of pay for federal employees, the Republican platform had this to say:
The federal workforce is larger and more highly paid than ever. The taxpayers spend an average of $35,000 a year per employee on non-cash benefits, triple the average non-cash compensation of the average worker in the private sector. Federal employees receive extraordinary pension benefits and vacation time wildly out of line with those of the private sector. We urge Congress to bring federal compensation and benefits in line with the standards of most American employees. A Republican administration should streamline personnel procedures to expedite the firing of bad workers, tax cheats, and scammers.
Banning unionization at TSA
The platform says that allowing TSA workers to unionize is a “mistake,” and says that if in power, a new Republican administration will “work to correct that.”
Unions and official time
Also on the subject of federal unions, the platform says that union representatives in the federal workforce should not be allowed to be paid for conducting union business and that federal workers shouldn’t be compelled to join a union or pay dues:
We recognize the dedication of most employees of the federal government and thank them for their service, with special praise for the whistleblowers who risk their careers to expose waste, fraud, and misuse of power. None of them should ever be compelled to join a union or pay dues to it. In fairness to their fellow workers, union representatives should not be allowed to engage in union-related activities while on the public’s time. The inability of federal managers to discipline and, if necessary, dismiss problem staff members is an affront to every conscientious worker, as is the misuse of funds for lavish conferences and routine bonuses. The appointees of a Republican president will work with career managers to end those abuses and enforce high standards for all federal employees. We reaffirm the existing protections that provide all employees of the federal government the opportunity to pursue their desire to serve their country free from discrimination.
Impeaching IRS commissioner John Koskinen
The Republican platform had some strong words about the IRS and its commissioner:
The IRS has become an ideological attack dog for the worst elements of today’s Democratic Party. It systematically targets conservative, pro-life, and libertarian organizations, harassing them with repeated audits and denying their tax exempt status. Its commissioner has lied to Congress, hidden evidence, and stonewalled investigations. He should be impeached by the House of Representatives and convicted by the Senate.
Reforming the VA
The platform describes these desired changes to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs:
As shown by recent controversies at the Department, senior leaders must be held accountable for ensuring that their subordinates are more responsive to veterans’ needs. The VA has failed those who have sacrificed the most for our freedom. The VA must move from a sometimes adversarial stance to an advocacy relationship with vets. To that end, we will empower the Secretary to hold all VA employees accountable and will seek fundamental change in the VA’s senior leadership structure by placing presidential appointees, rather than careerists, in additional positions of significant responsibility. We cannot allow an unresponsive bureaucracy to blunt our national commitment. The VA must strengthen and improve its efforts through partnerships with private enterprises, veteran service organizations, technology and innovation, and competitive bidding to enable the VA to better provide both quality and timely care along with all earned benefits to our nation’s veterans and their families. This will allow the VA to reduce the backlog and save immense resources all at the same time. Therefore, let us look to innovative solutions that allow higher quality VA care, reduce backlogs, and save immense resources all at the same time.
Laws and statehood for the District of Columbia
The Republican platform says that a Republican Congress and White House should enact legislation to allow law abiding citizens residing within the District of Columbia to own and carry guns. It also says that statehood for DC can be advanced only by a constitutional amendment and any other approach would be invalid.