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Federal Employees News Digest : Jan. 28, 2013
January 28, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 26 3 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com even it means hollowing out the federal workforce and eliminating those invest- ments that actually create jobs, provide for national defense and spur economic activity," Connolly continued. But Connolly sees at least the possibil- ity of a good outcome---a shimmer of a silver lining in that some members have begun to recognize the danger, and are putting aside their differences for the greater good. "So far this year, there has been a large group of members from both sides of the aisle who have shown a willingness to work together on balanced solutions," Connolly said. "[And that's] whether it was extending tax cuts or providing disaster relief." "I hope that continues so that we can fin- ish the deal we started on New Year's Day and fully avert sequestration and begin to restore fiscal responsibility," he said. But for now, as Connolly and other friends of feds have had to acknowledge, the "fiscal cliff," the sequestration threat and the threat of an unfavorable alterna- tive---legislation that unfairly hits feds and favors contractors---remains on the table. So far, it's only a two-month tem- porary law that has taken the massive problem off the front pages. Situation critical, Joint Chiefs say Top military leaders sent a letter to Congress this month, warning that mili- tary readiness is "at a tipping point," and urging "immediate action to provide adequate and stable funding" for the Defense Department. "We are on the brink of creating a hol- low force due to an unprecedented con- vergence of budget conditions," stated a Jan. 14 letter signed by the seven members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "We ask for leg- islative action that adequately resources readiness while granting the department the authority and flexibility to shape the force to new budget realities." DOD faces the dual threats of poten- tial across-the board cuts from seques- tration as outlined in the 2011 Budget Control Act, and cuts in operating bud- gets if the 2013 defense budget continu- ing resolution is extended to the end of fiscal 2013. But Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said the "28-star letter"--- so called because of the seven four- star generals who signed it---was late in coming. "The '28 Star' letter is serious, and it is my hope that it serves as a wake-up call," McKeon said in a statement. "The condition of our armed forces is swiftly declining. And this is the first red flag on what could be a hazardous road for our national security." "I only wish the service chiefs' warn- ing had come sooner," he continued. "Time after time, this committee was told by Pentagon officials that there was no need to plan for sequestration's dire consequences. Time after time, we gave those officials the opportunity to testify about the risks inherent in that strategy. Now, as we approach the midnight hour, DOD is just beginning to offer specifics." The Joint Chiefs said that if a con- tinuing resolution were to remain in effect for the rest of fiscal 2013, even if sequestration were avoided the Pentagon would "require transfer authority and support for follow-on reprogramming authority from investment accounts" to address readiness concerns. Congress will need help to address those issues, McKeon said in his state- ment. "Congress alone does not carry full responsibility for this crisis," he said, and criticized the president for failing to "step off the podium and sit down at the negotiating table." "This solution will also take agree- ment from Congress and the command- er-in chief," he said To see McKeon's statement, go to: http://armedservices.house.gov/index. cfm/press-releases?ContentRecord_ id=a27a2637-a678-4a45-ae02- 4f6dc8d5e493. ••• In Brief Union calls for more sequester guidance The largest federal employee union blasted a Jan. 14 Office of Management and Budget sequestration guidance, which it claimed unfairly targeted feder- al employees for large cuts, while leaving contractors largely untouched. American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. sent a Jan. 16 letter to Danny Werfel, OMB acting deputy director for management and comptroller, to protest what he characterized as the "one-sided guidance." Cox wrote that "OMB issued seques- tration guidance that endorsed signifi- cant cuts for federal employees while mentioning contactors only in passing--- with an almost apologetic tone---and managed to be utterly silent on direct conversions." "Hiring freezes, firing of temporary and term employees, incentives for fed- eral personnel to retire, and extensive furloughs of in-house staff constitute big hits on the federal workforce," stated the letter. "These are actual cuts. In contrast, service contractors emerge relatively unscathed, subjected only to vague and unspecified contingent cuts." Cox said the guidance only instructed agencies to review contracts to look for savings. Agencies were told to examine contracts "to determine where cost sav- ings may be achieved in a manner that is continued from page 1 Don’t miss our discussion of weekly news topics. Discuss these stories and more with your fellow federal workers at www.FederalSoup.com. continued on page 5
Jan. 21, 2013
Feb. 4, 2013