If House Republicans succeed in cutting tens of billions of dollars in discretionary spending over the next six months, some of the most immediate victims will be federal employees, many of whose jobs will be slashed as their agencies pare back.
At a press conference in the lobby of RNC headquarters Tuesday morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) shrugged this off as collateral damage.
“In the last two years, under President Obama, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs,” Boehner said. “If some of those jobs are lost so be it. We’re broke.”
Some of those employees will no doubt collect unemployment insurance, so the government’s obligation to them won’t disappear with their jobs.
Boehner didn’t cite a source for the claim that Obama had added 200,000 employees to the federal payroll. And he said he didn’t have an estimate of how many jobs would be lost as a result of the GOP cuts. But once the extent of the cuts is finalized, economists will provide them. And then we’ll have an answer for a question Boehner made famous during the 2010 campaign: “Where are the jobs?!”
Update: Ed O’Keefe of the Washington Post reported last September that there were only 20,000 more federal employees under Obama in 2010 than under George W. Bush in 2002 — and that, on a per capita basis (federal employees per 1,000 Americans), it’s at the lowest level at least since 1962.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.