Sequestration is Here - Updates on Guidance and a Little Happy News

Last Friday President Obama sent an order to begin implementation of sequestration. The Office of Management and Budget also released late last week several memorandums containing guidance for executive departments and agencies.

OMB memo M-13-05 was sent to agencies on February 27th. The memo instructs the heads of federal departments and agencies to keep examining their finances and "to engage in intense and thorough planning activities to determine all specific actions that will be taken as soon as practicable."

The memo urges agencies to limit new acquisitions to ones that “support high-priority initiatives or where failure to do so would expose the government to significantly greater costs in the future.” It also instructs managers to apply greater “scrutiny” in hiring new personnel, awarding employees discretionary money, and committing to travel for conferences, training, and other events.

To demonstrate solidarity with federal employees who could be furloughed during sequestration, some lawmakers and federal executives have pledged to forgo matching cuts to their own pay, in an act of solidarity with federal employees. Congresswoman Holmes Norton (D-DC) pledged to donate a day’s pay for the maximum number of days that federal employees are furloughed. Norton is donating her pay for those days to the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA). Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) will take an 8.4% pay cut to match the reduction on most discretionary programs.

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) called for congressional pay cuts to match federal employee furloughs. Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) answered Mikulski’s call and introduced legislation to make congressional salaries vulnerable to sequestration cuts. 

Ashton Carter, Deputy Secretary for Defense, told a Senate committee that he would cut his own salary 20%, an idea that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appreciated. Graham stated, “we should follow your model. We should have our pay docked and the President should have his pay docked.”

 

Posted in General News

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