Budget cuts would hit Congress but not its members

Budget cuts would hit Congress but not its members

Feb. 26, 2013 – 11:22AM   |  By GREGORY KORTE   |
Members of Congress would not take paycuts under sequestration, but they might have to cut staff members.

Members of Congress would not take paycuts under sequestration, but they might have to cut staff members. (Karen Bleier / AFP)

As the rest of the federal government prepares for furloughs, layoffs and sweeping budget cuts caused by sequestration, the people who could prevent the cuts are the ones whose paychecks are protected: members of Congress.

The 27th Amendment to the Constitution — intended to prevent members of Congress from voting themselves a pay raise — also prohibits them from taking a pay cut until after the next election.

Congress will feel the pain in other ways. Members’ office budgets, committee staff and leadership offices will all see the same across-the-board cuts as any other discretionary, non-defense spending. Continue reading “Budget cuts would hit Congress but not its members”

Sequestration, once unimaginable, draws near

Sequestration, once unimaginable, draws near

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Barring a last-minute broadening of their legislative ambitions, congressional leaders struggling toward a minimalist deal on the fiscal cliff appear poised to allow the dreaded tool of sequestration to chop agency budgets when federal workers return from the holidays on Jan. 2.

Many long assumed it would never happen.

The Obama administration, after months of forbidding agency managers from overt planning for across-the-board cuts, finally relented early in December, beginning with the Defense Department on Dec. 5. And though layoffs, furloughs and canceled contracts are possible in the coming months, agencies have the tools to postpone action for several weeks in the hope that a new Congress in January could achieve a political and budgetary breakthrough. Continue reading “Sequestration, once unimaginable, draws near”

Federal worker Q&A guide to the fiscal cliff: Ten answers on jobs, cuts and more

Federal worker Q&A guide to the fiscal cliff: Ten answers on jobs, cuts and more

Posted by Eric Yoder on December 12, 2012 at 6:00 am

Federal employees have a major stake in the debate over whether, and how, the government should back away from the “fiscal cliff” and potential for automatic “sequestration” cuts to programs starting in January.

Agencies have begun making plans for a sequester that could include steps such as hiring freezes, unpaid furloughs and even layoffs. However, the exact impact remains unknown.

Meanwhile various proposals to avoid the sequester are circulating, including some that would protect federal employees and others that would affect federal jobs, pay and benefits.

Following are 10 key questions employees are asking, and the answers as best as they can be determined at this point. Continue reading “Federal worker Q&A guide to the fiscal cliff: Ten answers on jobs, cuts and more”