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Federal Employees News Digest : Jan. 14, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org What's Inside44 January 14, 2013 • Vol. 62, no. 24 Union leader sees three 'fiscal cliffs' Federal employee organizations in recent years have ramped up criticism of the ongoing congressional infighting that has slowed and hindered legislation to fund and manage the federal agencies that are home to more than 2 million employees. Last week, in public statements and an interview with FEND, National Federation of Federal Employees President William R. Dougan cranked up the criticism a notch further---sharply criticizing a two-month legislative Band- Aid that will fund the federal govern- ment only through March, and warning of a growing possibility that efforts to craft a more lasting and reasoned com- promise will fail. "The proposed fiscal cliff solution is a bad deal for federal employees," Dougan said Jan. 1, responding to the last-min- ute legislation passed by Congress in the new year. "The most important fed- eral workforce issue of our generation--- sequestration---continues to hang over the head of federal employees through- out government." "The fiscal cliff, really, is a series of three fiscal cliffs," Dougan explained more recently in an interview with FEND. He enumerated the three parts---a worsen- ing failure to compromise on continuing resolutions that the government has been operating under for years, a pressing need to raise the federal debt ceiling, and finally the looming threat of deep cuts under sequestration that would follow a contin- ued failure to compromise. "The current continuing resolution is set to expire on March 27," Dougan said. "So, if this new Congress does not either pass a budget or extend funding with another continuing resolution, we are facing another government shutdown." "As for the debt ceiling issue, this part of what I call the real fiscal cliff we're fac- ing has to be dealt with even sooner---by the end of February," Dougan explained. "We have to deal with this issue or we're going to lose the ability to borrow money. People have to understand, this means the government will be able to spend only what it brings in---primarily by way of taxes---and that means only about 60 percent of current federal budget activ- ity can be funded to keep running the federal government." Entitlements also threatened Dougan noted that the federal budget funds not only government operations and salaries, but also entitlement pro- gram payments on which Americans rely, and offered a strong warning. "The bad news here is this: Just look at entitlement programs and what they cost---these are more than 66 percent of the budget---with the costs of all the forty-plus federal agencies being the other 34 percent of that budget. If we cut Entertainment politics Confession time. I worked for a major newspaper (The Washington Post) from age 17 to age 60, with a couple of breaks, including military time-outs. I mention this because whether or not you agree with my forthcoming observa- tions about the news biz and its coverage of feds, you must concede that I spent some time, and invested some blood, sweat, toil and tears in the trade. To borrow from Charles Barkley, the basketball great, my motto also is: " I May Be Wrong, But I Doubt It." At least in this case. Here's my long-held theory which, after the last six months, I believe more than ever. Many reporters assigned to cover "the government" really want to cover politics. And that's what they wind up doing. And reporters who cover politics are all closet sports reporters--- failed jocks who didn't make the team in high school or college, and who see world events as a football or baseball game. They see elections as a combination track meet/decathalon/ heavyweight championship boxing match. They like terms like "slam dunk" as proof of the presence of weapons of mass destruction which may have existed but have yet to be found. We (you and me) saw and heard a lot of INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • New Congress to address USPS ills 4 • FMS jobs relocation postponed 4 • In Brief 5 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3
Dec. 17, 2012
Jan. 21, 2013