Sen. Warner presses Trump nominee on federal workforce

mark warnerAt a Senate Budget Committee hearing today for President Trump’s nomination of Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) pressed the nominee on the Trump Administration’s federal hiring freeze announced Monday. Sen. Warner pressed Mulvaney on the Administration’s plans to recruit and retain qualified personnel.

A transcript of the exchange appears below.

Warner: As I mentioned when we met, I am concerned about the Administration’s current position on federal workers. Many of these federal workers serve their country. They do their jobs with passion and pride. They view it as a calling. I know that the President has put in place a federal employee hiring freeze. He says that was to address the ‘dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years.’ But Mr. Mulvaney, are you aware that the size of the federal civilian workforce relative to the country’s population has actually declined dramatically over the last number of decades? That it’s actually smaller now than it was under President Reagan?

Mulvaney: I was not aware of that piece of data.

Warner: I’d hope you would relay that. Are you aware that, according to GAO, nearly one-third of the federal workforce is eligible for retirement between now and 2019?

Mulvaney: I was not aware of that, but that doesn’t surprise me.

Warner: Do you agree that if we’re going to recruit and retain the best workers – and they are going to have to do a job that is going to be continue to be challenged, as we look at ways to get our budget into balance – how are we going to do that when we’ve got disparity between private and public sector payment, when we send these kind of messages about the value of federal workers on a going-forward basis? How will you reinforce that values statement to a workforce that right now is very, very concerned?

Mulvaney: Senator, as I think you and I discussed, I think the federal government probably could do better in dealing with employees who are exemplary, and better with dealing with employees who fall below our expectations. And all I can say to you is that I look forward to figuring out a way to solve both ends of that problem.