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The Army has put an immediate freeze on civilian hiring and will begin terminating some temporary employees to reduce spending ahead of potential across-the-board budget cuts later this year. Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno and Army Secretary John McHugh also directed Army commanders and supervisors to reduce base-operations support spending.
Guidance from the administration on what steps federal agencies should take to prepare for potential across-the-board budget cuts has set off a war of words between federal-employee unions and industry groups. The American Federation of Government Employees says guidance exempts contractors at the expense of federal employees, but industry groups say the criticism is misguided.
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service will implement significant cost-cutting measures next week to prepare for the possibility of automatic spending cuts due to hit government in March. DFAS plans to freeze most hiring, reduce travel and overtime, and temporarily halt new employee performance awards, according to DFAS Director Terri McKay.
Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have proposed an alternative to the automatic budget cuts set to go into effect next month that includes reducing the size of the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition.
As sequestration draws nearer, contractor groups have pointed to alarming studies that show the 9 percent in across-the-board Defense cuts would throw at least 1 million people out of work and potentially cripple the defense and aerospace industries. But in a new report, the Center for International Policy, a nonprofit group which advocates reducing military spending, presented evidence that far fewer defense-sector jobs would be lost than industry has claimed and that defense companies would likely be able to absorb the defense cuts.
As the Internal Revenue Service prepares to enter tax season full-bore, the agency is faced with a tightened budget, a shrinking workforce and an ever-more complex and increasing workload. That combination, along with leadership changes at the top of agency, threatens to upend the gains IRS has made over the past few years to better manage its workforce, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, an agency watchdog.
For the second year in a row, the number of citizens who report being satisfied with government services rose, according to a new report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. The higher governmentwide score was driven in large part by the increasing satisfaction with government websites, which rounded out the year at near all-time highs.
Federal employees retired in droves last month, with more than 22,000 filing retirement claims with the Office of Personnel Management -- about about 1,000 more than OPM expected. The agency processed 12,527 retirement claims last month, also beating its projections.
With the House postponing a vote on extending the federal pay freeze, feds are back on course to get a slight pay increase in March — for the first time in two years. But Andrew Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and an expert on public-sector compensation, says that the pressing budget issues the government faces means the issue of federal pay probably isn't going anywhere.
The Thrift Savings Plan began 2013 almost exactly how it left off last year. All the regular funds — with the exception of the F Fund, made up of government bonds — and all the target-date Lifecyle Funds posted in positive territory for the month of January.