To date, there have been a long list of studies published on the potential fallout from $109 billion in mandatory sequestration cuts scheduled to hit the government on January 2, 2013. Analysts are now predicting that more than one million jobs could be lost, pushing the unemployment rate back above 10 percent. This week, President Obama’s budget office affirmed these fears, and urged that Congress make every effort to stop the devastating cuts.
At a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeffrey Zients and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told the panel the cuts would “at least” result in unpaid furloughs, hiring freezes, and layoffs. According to the Federal Times, both men reiterated that the cuts must be stopped, or risk serious consequences for our national defense and other critical public services.
As the clock ticks closer to January 2, both Republicans and Democrats have chosen to play the blame game rather than come to a bipartisan solution to replace the mandated cuts. With the August recess approaching, the odds of that happening grow even smaller. With such a short window of opportunity to create a solution, it is unlikely the House and Senate will come to agreement on anything regarding the sequestration cuts.
“Sequestration would be a disaster for federal employees and the agencies for which they work,” said NFFE Legislative Director Randy Erwin. “However, a bad deal to end sequestration that guts federal pay and benefits is unacceptable as well. We need to remind members of Congress that it was not the federal workforce that got us into the fiscal crisis we are stuck in and federal workers can’t be expected to shoulder the bulk of the burden in getting our country out of it. Federal employees have already accepted $75 billion in cuts to their pay and benefits. Congress needs to get serious about a balanced approach to getting our fiscal house in order.”