Representative Joe Heck (R-NV3) released this statement yesterday concerning back pay for furloughed federal employees:
“Our hard-working civil servants did not ask for this partial shutdown,” Rep. Heck said. “No one would wish the difficulties they are facing during this uncertain time upon anyone, especially not on those men and women who serve our country as federal employees. This bill will allow furloughed workers to receive their back pay once a compromise can be reached on our spending and debt issues and they return to work. I remain committed to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to resolve this matter and end the current impasse.”
There are a couple of quibblies which come to mind. First, this entire mess didn’t have to happen in the first place. If there aren’t enough votes to pass a clean continuing resolution in the House of Representatives — then why not vote and demonstrate this as a fact, rather than continue to use it as a talking point without substantiation?
Secondly, this largess ignores some people who will likely not get back pay from this debacle — they are employed by contractors and sub-contractors who work for various federal departments. From a report on DoD spending: “In the past 10 years, the federal government has increasingly relied on the private sector for the provision of services. Since 2003, federal spending on services has consistently represented about 25 percent of the total federal discretionary budget, reaching a record high (in dollar terms) in 2009 at $343 billion. Every area of services analyzed in this report exhibited mid-single-digit compound annual growth during the past decade.” [HuffPo] Thus much for supporting private enterprise?
As of 2012, the Federal government was spending about 14% of the budget ($500 billion) on private contracts – or double the percentage in 2000, with 80% of all IT work being conducted by private firms. [CNN] So, while the Republicans appear to want to hammer Pennsylvania Avenue, the blows are landing on Main Street.
For a party which touts itself as the Pro-Business, Pro-Private Enterprise outfit — they’ve got a funny way of showing it.
** The fight over the Nevada GOP chairmanship at their latest convention illustrates the split in the GOP generally? The Money Men vs. the Tea Party? John L. Smith has some interesting observations.
** Think Progress takes the Debt Ceiling Truther time line back to 2010. This is a good chronological report of general maneuvers by the Republicans on government spending and the debt ceiling. And, from Talking Points Memo we learn that the shut down may have taught the GOP to like Big Government.