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Federal Employees News Digest : April 8, 2013
Kristi Dougherty General Manager Phil Piemonte Managing Editor Sherkiya Wedgeworth Online Managing Editor Becky Fenton Circulation Manager Nathan Abse Writer Mike Causey Columnist Edward Zurndorfer Columnist Published by 1105 Government Information Group, Anne Armstrong, President. 1105 Government Information Group is part of 1105 Media, Inc. Neal Vitale, CEO. Corporate Headquarters: 1105 Media, Inc. 9201 Oakdale Ave., Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 www.1105media.com Office: 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500 Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Phone: Editorial: (703) 891-8554 Subscriptions: (800) 989-3363 Fax: (703) 876-5130 Internet: www.FederalDaily.com Subscription Rates: 1 year---$99 Site Licenses are available: E-mail: FENDsitelicense@ FederalDaily.com For single article reprints (in minimum quantities of 250-500), e-prints, plaques and posters contact: PARS International Phone: (212) 221-9595 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.magreprints.com/QuickQuote.asp The Comptroller General has ruled that federal agen- cies and departments may buy Federal Employees News Digest publications with government funds. This decision is No. B-185591. Federal Tax ID 20-4583700. DUNS #612031414. FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEWS DIGEST (ISSN 1065-0970) is published weekly except first week in January and last week in December by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Annual subscription rate is: US $99. Subscription inquiries and customer service: Mail to: Federal Employees News Digest, PO Box 15428, N. Hollywood, CA 91615-5428, customerservice@feder- aldaily.com or call (800) 989-3363, fax (818) 487-4550. © Copyright 2013 by 1105 Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions or distribution in whole or part prohibited except by site license or reprint purchase. The information in this newsletter has not undergone any formal testing by 1105 Media, Inc. and is dis- tributed without any warranty expressed or implied. Implementation or use of any information contained herein is the reader's sole responsibility. While the information has been reviewed for accuracy, there is no guarantee that the same or similar results may be achieved in all environments. Technical inaccuracies may result from printing errors and/or new develop- ments in the industry. This publication's subscriber list, as well as other lists from 1105 Media, Inc., is available for rental. For more information, please contact our list manager, Merit Direct. Phone: (914) 368-1000; E-mail: 1105media@ meritdirect.com; Web: www.meritdirect.com/1105. April 8, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 36 2 Visit us on the internet at www.FederalDaily.com ecutor, sued Phil for fraud. Or making a bad weather call. Or something. Phil was forced to lawyer up. And he is not a rich groundhog. Or woodchuck or whistle-pig, or whatever you want to call him. He's just a rodent doing his job. The battle was joined. Meanwhile, further south, in Washington, D.C., the White House and Congress also got it wrong. Together, they swallowed the poison pill (sequestration) that the administration cooked up and Congress permitted. Some members were delighted by it. Most probably didn't think it would happen until it did. And it's not as though no one saw it coming. After the November elec- tions---after ignoring the possibility that sequestration could actually happen---the administration suddenly went into high gear. Sequestration hadn't been a problem in October, but by December it was the menace du jour. Suddenly there were warnings that all sorts of horrible things would happen if sequestration kicked in and across-the-board cuts were imposed on most federal operations. House Republicans, on the other hand, before the election warned that sequestra- tion would be horrible. Afterward they didn't seem to pay much attention. Congress as a whole, of course, shares the blame with the White House. Because it did what it has done best for the last 30 years: Not much. It (again) didn't approve agency budgets or appropriations. It let the government continue to coast (as it has for years) on a series of extended con- tinuing resolutions. The White House and Congress adopted the same tactics, but at different times. So in the end, like Punxsutawney Phil, the politicians of both parties at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue got it wrong. Sequestration---which they said was too horrible to happen---happened. The next thing that happened was, well, not much. The Pentagon said all 780,000 of its civilians would be furloughed for 22 days between now and the end of September. Then in mid-March, with the furloughs approaching, DOD announced the furloughs would come later, that there would be "only" 14 days (if that) and that some people would be exempt after all. The Justice Department also said last year, in March 2012, that almost nine of every 10 employees would be furloughed for weeks at a time. Now the expected fur- loughs are down to 14 days, at most. That's still a lot, but better than many more weeks of furloughs. Justice altered its course by discovering that it can do something under sequestration, moving funds from one pro- gram to another, that other departments and agencies say is impossible. The Agriculture Department, for its part, scared Congress and a big chunk of the busi- ness community into allowing it to wiggle out, at least partially, from the across-the- board sequester guidelines. The Department said meat and poultry inspectors would have to be furloughed, which would mean less of the product being inspected so it could be marketed. And eaten. USDA knows politicians and the public. We Americans will tolerate defense down- sizing and less security at the borders. But keep your hands off our hamburgers and chicken nuggets. It isn't over, either for sequestration or Phil the groundhog. Sequestration may yet (but probably won't) do its worst. And Phil could (but probably won't) find himself doing hard time in a tunnel-proof Ohio prison. Meantime, Spring appears to have finally sprung. Sequestration has---as they say on National Public Radio's C a r Ta l k show---managed to "stump the chumps." Experts who said sequestration was too horrible to happen were proven wrong. Equally certain experts on the other side, who said the no-exceptions, across-the- board cuts would solve the nation's fiscal woes, also missed the boat. For a lot of longtime feds, this situation looks a lot as it did when they came in. They've been to this show (or a version of it) several times in some cases. So for Congress, and the White House, and Phil, there is always a new year. Another chance to get it right. Good luck with that to all concerned. Including us. INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 1
April 1, 2013
April 15, 2013