The Bush administration said Thursday that it would allow private businesses to compete more for work done by about 850,000 government employees, a move Democrats called a declaration of war on federal workers.
White House budget director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. said the new bidding rules, which take effect immediately, would spur “substantial savings and better service to the American citizen.”
But Democrats expressed concern about potential job losses in the federal workforce, whose employee unions are a significant base of party support. The 850,000 workers represent about half of all civilian federal employees.
“Basically, these new rules mean that the administration is declaring war on federal employees....” said Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
The new rules, which allow private businesses to bid against government agencies for work deemed “commercial activities,” could lead to an average 30% cut in costs, Daniels said.