On the heels of the supercommittee failing to come up with a deficit reduction deal, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) expressed frustration with the “dysfunctional” state of Congress, which, he said, could lead to an exodus of federal talent.
Moran blamed some lawmakers who he said shouldn’t be legislating in the first place. “You can’t legislate for a government if from the outset you’re anti-government.”
He added, “A lot of these people, frankly, don’t belong in Congress.”
Specifically, Moran said cuts to agency budgets and federal pay and benefits will have a detrimental effect on government services and its ability to keep its “best and brightest” federal employees. He said he expects feds to leave their jobs for the private sector or to retire early.
“It’s impossible to predict how many positions will be unfilled, how many people will be furloughed and how many people will be laid off,” Moran said. “The overall impact is going to be that we will have a smaller and probably less productive federal workforce, which I think is pretty much what the objective was with some of the anti-government folks who have had such a sway during this process.”
Moran spoke on In Depth with Francis Rose a day after the supercommittee said it could not reach a deal to cut $1.2 trillion in the federal debt over the next decade. He estimated that the state of stalemate could go on “for another decade because of the inability of the supercommittee to raise revenue.”
“We’re going to continue either not paying for the services that we get or cutting those services dramatically. Whatever alternative, it’s going to come back to haunt us,” Moran said.
The failure of the supercommittee triggers across-the-board cuts of $1.2 trillion to both defense and non-defense programs, starting January 2013. President Obama said he would veto any efforts to undo these cuts, forcing Congress to come up with a deficit reduction deal over the next year.
Meanwhile, Congress still cannot agree on the current year’s budget. The government is funded now by a short-term spending measure that lasts until Dec. 16. Congress has only passed three of the 12 spending bills.
Moran said he believed at least 10 of the 12 spending bills will be passed by Feb. 1, 2012. However, the defense budget and spending for the departments of Labor and Health and Human Services may be sticking points for lawmakers.
“We may be stuck with a continuing resolution with that,” Moran said, referring to the Labor and HHS appropriations.