Congress has approved a plan to avoid furloughs for U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees during fiscal 2013, according to a Wednesday statement from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
The announcement said CBP will also continue to pay for “administratively uncontrollable overtime,” which is given to Border Patrol agents who work irregular, unscheduled extra hours to fulfill their duties.
A Customs and Border Patrol agent and a security dog keep watch at a checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas. Eric Gay/AP
Customs and border personnel could become the latest group of federal workers to receive a reprieve from furloughs this fiscal year.
Customs and Border Protection, an agency within the Homeland Security Department, asked congressional appropriators for permission on Friday to transfer money within its budget to avoid furloughing employees through Sept. 30 because of sequestration. Lawmakers have 30 days to decide whether to approve the request for what’s known as reprogramming authority.
That means CBP personnel should know their furlough fate for the rest of the fiscal year by about mid-June. Other employees who have escaped unpaid leave in fiscal 2013 include workers at the Federal Aviation Administration, Justice Department and Education Department. Continue reading “Customs and Border Employees Might Escape Furloughs”
FEDweek: The Five Ws of Sequestration:
A Guide to Furloughs and Other Threats to Federal Employees
Copyright © FEDweek LLC 2013
1. Why are federal employee furloughs being threatened?
The origins go back to mid-2011 when political leaders were faced with the need to raise the federal debt ceiling. As part of a law raising the limit, deficit reduction of $1.2 trillion over 10 years was ordered. However, special bipartisan committee on that issue disbanded late in 2011 when it reached its deadline without reaching an agreement. Under the debt ceiling law, that meant automatic cuts called “sequestration” would begin with calendar year 2013, also spread out over a decade, to achieve the same amount of deficit reduction.
Many “mandatory” spending programs are exempt, including payments from federal retirement, Social Security and other benefits programs, as well as some “discretionary” programs.
However, even where a program is shielded, the administrative expenses to operate it —
including the funds to pay federal employees working in it — are subject to sequestration.
A law enacted just as those cuts averaging about 10 percent were set to hit in early January 2013 delayed the sequester until March 1 by ordering certain savings and revenues elsewhere, but inthe meantime leaders could not reach an agreement either on a long-term way to replace the sequester or on another delay. Continue reading “FEDweek: The Five Ws of Sequestration: A Guide to Furloughs and Other Threats to Federal Employees”