Trump Admin Wants To Free Up States To Hire Contractors For Entitlement Programs

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
Font Size:

The Trump administration is considering allowing state and local governments greater ability to use independent contractors, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told The Daily Caller.

“One of the things we brought up a couple weeks ago in a meeting with the vice president is giving states the ability to contract,” Walker said Wednesday.

The governor said the problem resided with laws requiring that the “eligibility for many of the Health and Human Services programs….has to be set by a government employee.”

Walker, who has fought labor unions throughout his time as governor, described this requirement as “a hat tip to the unions.”

The Republican push for outsourcing entitlement enrollment resides with a desire for cost-savings. An April Congressional Budget Office report found: “Among workers with a high school diploma or less education, total compensation costs averaged 53 percent more for federal employees than for their private-sector counterparts.”

A spokeswoman for Vice President Pence did not elaborate on how the administration would change this requirement. Walker said that the vice president is “absolutely” on board with giving states more power to contract.

A source close to the White House said that state and local governments could use independent contractors for entitlement programs through an executive order.

The Office of Management and Budget would change the definition of what services are “inherently governmental,” thus allowing private contractors to be hired, the source said.

Gov. Walker said that he spoke to both OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and House Speaker Paul Ryan about giving states “more ability to contract.”

This could include changes to statutes in the year-end budget, according to Walker.

A spokesman for American Federation of State, County and Municipal employees did not return a request for comment.