Browsing: budget cuts

Sequestration is delayed — what do you think?


Gosh, wasn’t the last month of planning for and arguing over the sequestration budget cuts a lot of fun? Guess what — we get to do it all over again! The fiscal cliff deal Congress passed New Year’s Day doesn’t do away with sequestration — it just delays it two months. Federal Times would like to hear your thoughts about the prospect of a delayed sequestration. How does this throw off your plans? What does the uncertainty mean for your projects? Are you angry that this mess has just been kicked down the road once again? Are you worried that…

Deficit reduction, Onion-style


Tired of hearing about one wonky proposal to avert sequestration after another? Trust us, you’re gonna want to read this one. The Onion yesterday published an eight-point plan to avert the rapidly-approaching fiscal cliff, and its editors are nothing if not confident. The editorial begins by declaring: “Those who reject any part of this plan are not only ignorant, but are also guilty of actively trying to undermine the nation and its government.” Their cuts would be brutal … and unique. The Onion proposes abolishing several agencies (such as the Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency), New Mexico, dams,…

As the federal workforce shrinks, how are you coping?


The latest statistics on the federal workforce provide the strongest proof yet that government employment has peaked and is on its way down. USA Today reported that the federal workforce in April was down 11,600 employees from the same time last year. This change shouldn’t come as much surprise — budgets are contracting, and many agencies have offered buyouts over the last year and a half to help deal with the tight fiscal environment. But Federal Times is wondering what this new reality means on the ground, for front-line workers who have to actually get the government’s work done. Have…

Could RIFs be the lesser of two evils?


For more than a year, cash-strapped agencies across the government have been offering buyouts and early outs to reduce their payrolls. Several of those agencies said it’s better to cut the rolls voluntary to avoid messy, morale-killing layoffs, or reductions-in-force for those who speak government-ese. But at today’s Excellence in Government conference, a common refrain emerged: The dreaded RIF may be unavoidable — and may even be a better tool for managing the workforce than buyouts and early outs. “The R-word — RIF — has its place, because it is the most surgical,” said Ron Sanders, the intelligence community’s former…

GOP budget plan would drastically hike FERS contributions


The Republican Study Committee yesterday proposed steep increases to the amount federal employees would contribute to their pension plans. The committee’s budget plan for next year — called “Cut, Cap and Balance: A Budget for Fiscal Year 2013″ — calls for federal employees to split the cost of their pensions with taxpayers. Federal Employees Retirement System employees now contribute 0.8 percent of each paycheck toward their pensions; the government covers the remaining 11.7 percent. This would mean FERS employees would pay 6.25 percent of each paycheck toward their pension. (Plus another 6.2 percent towards Social Security, of course, and their…

2013 budget cuts: What do you think?


While spending in the Obama administration’s proposed fiscal budget is essentially flat overall, some agencies are facing cuts. The Agriculture, Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury departments and the Environmental Protection Agency are just a few of the organizations that could possibly see declines in their budgets next year. What do you think about the proposed budget? How would cuts affect your organization, and what would they mean for you personally? E-mail me at or Sean Reilly at to share your thoughts. If you’d like to talk anonymously, that’s fine.

Senate votes down pay freeze


The Senate earlier today voted down the latest Republican deficit reduction proposal that would have frozen federal pay raises and bonuses. The tax bill amendment, offered by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., would have also capped federal staffing levels and imposed a 5 percent across-the-board budget cut for all federal agencies except the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments. The amendment was defeated on a 41 – 57 vote. Thune blasted lawmakers for defeating the amendment, which he called “a common sense step toward restoring fiscal sanity.” “The defeat of my amendment was a missed opportunity for Congress to prove they are serious about tackling…

Penny Pinching, Government Style


My colleague Gregg Carlstrom already highlighted the budget cuts that the White House said will lead to $17 billion in savings in 2010. But I wanted to highlight a few items tucked into that figure that represent savings that came not from cuts, but from better contract management. Among the items dubbed “other savings” in the White House’s “Terminations, Reductions and Savings” report released today: The Environmental Protection Agency’s consolidation of 22 information technology contracts for desktop support saved the agency $2 million. The new, single contract centralized help desk support, provided more energy efficient equipment and improved security. The…