Expect Sequestration to Hit Much Harder in 2014, Report Says

Expect Sequestration to Hit Much Harder in 2014, Report Says

USDA was able to avoid furloughing meat inspectors in 2013.
USDA was able to avoid furloughing meat inspectors in 2013. Michael A. Mariant/AP file photo

Less severe cuts, deferred costs and temporary solutions mitigated sequestration’s effect in its inaugural year, but will not help lessen the impact in 2014, according to a new report.

The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, said the tactics federal agencies used to reduce furloughs in fiscal 2013 are, in many cases, no longer available. In fact, they will largely accentuate the severity of the cuts this time around.

For example, Congress allowed the Federal Aviation Administration to move funds from an account meant to provide maintenance to airports nationwide to avoid furloughs of air traffic controllers that would have delayed flights. Similar budgetary “gimmicks” were employed at the Agriculture Department to stave off furloughs of meat inspectors and by the Justice Department, which has already announced plans of 10 furlough days for FBI agents in 2014.

Continue reading “Expect Sequestration to Hit Much Harder in 2014, Report Says”

The shutdown is over, but federal employee morale still suffers

The Federal DiaryThe Federal Diary
Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about the federal workplace that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.

The shutdown is over, but federal employee morale still suffers

By , Published: October 21 E-mail the writer

Uncle Sam is recovering from nonessential surgery done with a dull, dirty blade.

The partial government shutdown ended Thursday, but it opened a slow-healing wound that has corroded trust and confidence in the political process and Sam’s ability to stay on the job.

Shutdown damages Republicans, with plenty of pain to go around

Shutdown damages Republicans, with plenty of pain to go around

It also seriously infected employee morale.

MSPB Could Face ‘Unprecedented’ Wave of Furlough Appeals

MSPB Could Face ‘Unprecedented’ Wave of Furlough Appeals

AFGE’s National President J. David Cox
AFGE’s National President J. David Cox AFGE

The Merit Systems Protection Board is bracing for the “unprecedented situation” of mass furlough appeals, according to an agency official.

MSPB — a quasi-judicial, independent agency that adjudicates appeals of “adverse personnel actions” from federal employees — is responsible for issuing rulings on furlough appeals. Bryan Polisuk, general counsel for MSPB, said the board does not know what to anticipate regarding the possibility of a wave of appeals.

“We’re taking a wait-and-see approach,” Polisuk told Government Executive. “We’re considering different things in an effort to handle the appeals, but we have to see if they come.” Continue reading “MSPB Could Face ‘Unprecedented’ Wave of Furlough Appeals”

Everything We Know About What’s Happened Under Sequestration

Everything We Know About What’s Happened Under Sequestration

While the White House Easter Egg Hunt was saved from sequestration, other programs haven’t been so lucky. Here’s our guide to what’s happened since the across-the-board budget cuts took effect. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

by Theodoric Meyer
ProPublica, May 7, 2013, 8:45 a.m.

We’ve updated our sequestration explainer to reflect new developments. It was originally published on April 11, 2013.

When the annual White House Easter Egg Hunt faced cancellation this year due to the package of mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration, the National Park Service kicked into high gear. It rescued the event — held since 1878 — with money from “corporate sponsors and the sale of commemorative wooden eggs,” according to the Washington Post.

The nation’s airline passengers also caught a break last month when Congress passed (and President Obama quickly signed) a bill allowing the Federal Aviation Administration to shift some funds and halt the furloughs of air traffic controllers that had been blamed for long flight delays around the country.

But other programs haven’t been so lucky. Children in Indiana have been cut from the federally funded Head Start preschool program, and one Head Start program in Maine is being cut altogether. Furloughs have begun for employees of agencies from the U.S. Park Police to the Environmental Protection Agency. And cuts to Medicare have forced cancer clinics to turn away thousands of patients who are being treated with drugs the clinics can no longer afford. Continue reading “Everything We Know About What’s Happened Under Sequestration”

Agriculture Close To Avoiding Furloughs

Agriculture Close To Avoiding Furloughs

Illinois farmer Jacob Hermes uses a combine to harvest his winter wheat crop.
Illinois farmer Jacob Hermes uses a combine to harvest his winter wheat crop. Seth Perlman/AP

It’s looking more likely that the Agriculture Department will not have to furlough any employees this fiscal year.

Senate appropriators have approved the department’s request to shift funds within the Rural Development division to avoid furloughing about 4,800 employees because of sequestration, according to an aide. House lawmakers have not yet responded but a decision could come as early as today or Wednesday, Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for the majority on the Appropriations Committee, said by email.

Appropriators have until Thursday to approve or reject Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s April 23 request to use special limited budget flexibility — what’s known as interchange transfer authority — to cover salary shortfalls in Rural Development in fiscal 2013. Continue reading “Agriculture Close To Avoiding Furloughs”