Surprise! Government departments DO figure out ways to handle Sequester

| June 23 2013

No Smart Way? Real Men of Genius Edition

Here’s to the lawmakers in Washington. No one can knowingly avoid fixing the sequester for two years, then panic when it goes into effect quite like you can. But now, it seems you’ve done the impossible: rather than playing your usual blame-game, you actually put on your thinking caps, took out a red pen, and are figuring out ways to avoid furloughs in some of your departments! Today, we salute you, Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection.

 

ADMINISTRATION CLAIMS “NO SMART WAY” TO AVOID SEQUESTER

President Obama: “No Smart Way” To Cut $85 Billion: “The problem is, when you’re cutting $85 billion in seven months … there’s no smart way to do that. There’s no smart way to do that.” (“Obama on Sequester Cuts: ‘There’s No Smart Way To Do That,’” Real Clear Politics, 2/26/13)

 

AVOIDING SEQUESTER “NOT IMPOSSIBLE” ACCORDING TO OTHERS IN WASHINGTON 

Customs And Border Protection Announces Plan To Avoid Furloughs:

“Sequester Furloughs Avoided For Customs And Border Protection” “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 agency initially planned to furlough employees for up to 14 days and de-authorize administratively uncontrollable overtime in an effort to trim costs under the government-wide spending cuts known as the sequester.” (Josh Hicks, “Sequester Furloughs Avoided For Customs And Border Protection,” The Washington Post, 6/19/13)

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: ““The approval of this reprogramming request mitigates the challenges our workforce would have faced with furloughs and demonstrates the support of the entire department of CBP’s mission.” (Josh Hicks, “Sequester Furloughs Avoided For Customs And Border Protection,” The Washington Post, 6/19/13)

 

Attorney General Announces No Furloughs At Justice Department: 

Department of Justice Will Not Need to Furlough Employees. “Attorney General Eric Holder says he will not need to furlough any Justice Department employees in the current fiscal year. The attorney general says he will be able to avoid furloughs because of additional money in the recently enacted legislation, combined with aggressive steps to freeze hiring and cut contracting and other costs.” (“Holder: No Furloughs At Justice Department, CBS News, 4/24/13)

Attorney General Eric Holder: “After careful review of our current financial situation and the additional funding we received in the final FY 2013 bill, combined with aggressive steps to freeze hiring and cut contracting and other costs, I am able to announce that the Department will not need to furlough any employees this fiscal year due to sequestration.” (David Nather, “Eric Holder: No Justice Department Furloughs This Year,” POLITICO, 4/25/13)

 

Biden’s Office, Other Agencies Avoid Furloughs:

Joe Biden’s Office Avoids Furloughs, Pay Cuts; Found Other Ways To Make Budget Cuts. “Like most of the federal government, the office of the vice president is subject to across the board spending cuts, but an administration official tells me Biden’s office has been able to do what the FAA – and president’s own staff – have been unable to do: make the required spending cuts without furloughing any employees. The VP’s office, I am told, is not furloughing anybody and not requiring any staff to take pay cuts. They have found other ways to make the required budget cuts. The VP’s office won’t say how they have made the cuts.” (Jonathan Karl, “Sheriff Joe Biden Avoids Furloughs,” ABC News, 4/23/13)

Meat Inspectors Avoided Furloughs In A “Special Step” From Congress. “Congress approved $55 million on Thursday to prevent the furlough of all U.S. meat inspectors this summer, a step that could have driven up meat prices and created spot shortages in grocery stores and restaurants. … In a special step, lawmakers shifted $55 million in Agriculture Department funding so that its food safety agency would have enough money to keep its 8,400 inspectors on the job.” (Charles Abbott, “US meat inspector furloughs avoided as Congress approves funding,” Reuters, 3/21/13)

 

FLASHBACK: White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough In February Said Finding Savings To Offset Sequester Was “Not Impossible.” Jonathan Karl: “Is it really impossible to find less than 3 percent of savings in a federal budget to avoid those kind of horrible cuts?” White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough: “You know what, it’s not impossible.” (“This Week,” ABC News, 2/17/13)

 

SENATORS AGREE IT’S “NOT IMPOSSIBLE” TO ALLOW FAA FLEXIBILITY ON CUTS 

Air-Travel Delays Prompt Lawmakers To Reassess Strategy On Sequester. “A bipartisan group of senators said Wednesday that they were introducing legislation to stop air traffic controller furloughs that have been blamed for more 2,000 delayed flights this week. The group, led by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.), said the legislation would allow the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to move funds between its accounts to prevent furloughs for its 15,000 air traffic controllers.” (Keith Laing, “Senators File Legislation To End Air Traffic Controller Furloughs Blamed For Delays,” The Hill, 4/24/13)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.): “’Air traffic controllers are critical to ensuring families and business travelers can get to their destinations safely and efficiently,’ Klobuchar said in a statement. ‘This legislation will give the FAA the flexibility it needs to keep air traffic controllers working to keep passengers safe, prevent flight delays, and make sure our aviation system can continue to be the strongest in the world.’” (Keith Laing, “Senators File Legislation To End Air Traffic Controller Furloughs Blamed For Delays,” The Hill, 4/24/13)

Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): “The Obama administration knew about the sequester for months, yet it gave the traveling public and Congress only three days notice before implementing the furloughs that are now being blamed for these delays.” (Josh Hicks, “Senators Propose Bipartisan Bill To End FAA’s Controller Furloughs,” Washington Post, 4/25/13) 

National Air Traffic Controllers Association Applauds Bipartisan Legislation. “We urge swift approval of this measure so that controllers can return to work full time and passengers and carriers can operate without the threat of unnecessary delays.” (Josh Hicks, “Senators Propose Bipartisan Bill To End FAA’s Controller Furloughs,” Washington Post, 4/25/13)

 

BankruptingAmerica.org is an educational project of Public Notice, an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to providing facts and insight on the effects public policy has on Americans’ financial well-being.

 

0 comments