Shows & Panels
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- The Big Data Dilemma
- Carrying On with Continuity of Operations
- Connected Government
- Constituent Servicing
- Continuous Monitoring: Tools and Techniques for Trustworthy Government IT
- The Cyber Imperative
- Cyber Solutions for 2013 and Beyond
- The Data Privacy Imperative: Safeguarding Sensitive Data
- Expert Voices
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal IT Challenge
- Federal Tech Talk
- Mission-critical Apps in the Cloud
- The Modern Federal Threat Landscape
- The Path from Legacy Systems
- The Real Deal on Digital Government
- The Reality of Continuous Monitoring... Is Your Agency Secure?
- Veterans in Private Sector: Making the Transition
Shows & Panels
When the S (sequestration) hits the fan?
Friday - 7/20/2012, 2:00am EDT
Self-destruction is not a good talking point, or bargaining chip. And yet...
That's what politicians — who are asking us to reelect them this November — are doing by playing the sequestration card. Except that when sequestration hits the fan, we could all suffer. Big time. Maybe get furloughed, forced to take a pay cut or handed a pink slip.
As far as I can tell, I don't know a single person who can explain exactly what "sequestration" is, how it would work and what it would do. It may have happened before, in a milder form. But nobody is quite sure when or where it happened, what impact it had or how long it lasted.
As yet another deadline approaches, both political parties are warning that while it might happen, it shouldn't happen. Yet both Democrats and Republicans have, at various times, set things up so that if they don't get their way — taxes are at the core — they will sequest all over us. And themselves.
The sequestration card was set up last year when Congress appointed the so-called supercommittee. The 12-member group was evenly split between Republicans who control the House and Democrats who control the Senate. The committee was formed in mid-August with a Dec. 23 deadline. The idea was to come up with a BRAC-like proposal that would result in a $1.5 trillion in costs over 10 years. It would be a share-the-pain deal that would begin when Congress approved it. If not, "sequestration" — automatic-across-the-board-cuts — would begin in January 2013.
Guess what? Although Congress had the mandate, the time and the reason — can you say recession? — to get it done, it didn't get it done. Nothing happened except that a lot of hot air was generated in Washington which doesn't need any more heat in the summer.
The good news for feds, is that the supercommittee was considering cuts — in federal retirement benefits, federal health benefits and future pay raises — that had been proposed earlier by a White House commission. Which also fizzled out.
The bad news for feds, as taxpayers and citizens, is that nothing has happened and unless it does, the sequestration boogeyman will be let loose. Depending on which lobby you listen to it will eliminate several hundred thousand civilian federal jobs, and again as many jobs among federal contractors.
There is talk of Weather Service furloughs during the hurricane season. Outside groups have warned of layoffs of FBI agents. The White House raises the possibility of national park shutdowns if the S-fan goes off.
Nonfederal industries, from travel and food to services and entertainment, will be hit by the ripple effect as tens of thousands of federal and private sector jobs disappear.
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
By Jack Moore
A New York City food truck is now selling a $666 hamburger that along with the traditional beef patty contains lobster, caviar and truffles all wrapped in six sheets of gold leaf, according to Slate. (Click the link to see what they're calling it)
MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
Lawmakers tell VA 'no more hollow promises' to fix the claims backlog
The Department of Veterans Affairs has made strides toward increasing the number of disability claims it can process every year. But new claims from veterans are growing even faster than ever. House legislators are frustrated by VA's lack of progress over the years.
Bill requires White House to hand over sequestration details
The Sequestration Transparency Act, which passed the House in a 414-2 vote, requires the President to submit a detailed report to Congress about how $1.2 trillion in cuts spread over 10 years will be applied.
Video: Meet 2012 Causey Award winner Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien, a human resources specialist at SSA, tells Federal News Radio that people are the key to a successful workplace.