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Sequestration Full Report

Sequestration Full Report

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Published by blankamnco
Report by House appropriation committee Democrats on the effect of sequestration.
Report by House appropriation committee Democrats on the effect of sequestration.

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Published by: blankamnco on Feb 20, 2013
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08/31/2013

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1
REPORT ON SEQUESTRATION
By House Appropriations Committee DemocratsFebruary 13, 2013
ECONOMIC RISKS
On March 1
st
, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will sequester $85 billion inFiscal Year (FY) 2013 spending as mandated by the Budget Control Act
,
unless Congressacts. This across-the-board cut will slow economic growth and job creation whilecutting services and investments critical to the American people. Sequestration comeson top of $1.5 trillion in discretionary cuts already enacted, a large part of the reasonthe economy contracted in the 4
th
quarter of 2012.CBO previously estimated a contraction of -0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2013.While the delay in starting sequestration, from January to March, reduces theprobability of negative growth in the first quarter, CBO still projects that
sequestrationwould cut economic growth in 2013 by half 
. The U.S. economy is expected to grow at arate of 1.4 percent this year; h
owever, without this year’s fiscal belt
-tightening,
“economic growth would be roughly 1
and 1/2 percentage points faster than we now
project,”
according to CBO.Last year, the fragile economic recovery struggled to create a total of 2.2 million jobs.The Bipartisan Policy Center estimates at least a million jobs will be lost due tosequestration. The Congressional Budget Office estimates up to 1.4 million jobs are atstake
 –
wiping out more than half the entire job growth achieved for all of last year.A recent study from George Mason University projects a loss of 2.14 million American jobs if sequestration takes effect. The analysis by Dr. Stephen S. Fuller of George Masonfurther
shows “nearly half of all sequestration job losses would come from small
businesses.
Dr. Fuller concludes that over 950,000 small business jobs nationwide areat risk under sequestration. The uncertainty has already caused business owners toslow hiring. This effect was evident in the news that the economy contracted during thelast quarter of 2012. The largest single contribution to the decline was a 22 percentreduction in defense spending in anticipation of the sequester.
 
2States rely on federal spending to varying degrees. In states that are more dependenton federal spending, the economic impact will be magnified. This report includes state-by-state impact analysis for several accounts, including two education grant programs,payments in lieu of taxes, and defense civilian furloughs.One of the most common means of meeting sequestration targets will be massivefurloughs. This report examines first how such furloughs are bad public policy. Thereport then covers the impact of sequestration on several budget functions: health,education and job training, social services, natural resources and environment, Corps of Engineers, science and innovation, international affairs, and defense.
FURLOUGHS OF CRITICAL PERSONNEL
Sequestration reduces funding in each non-exempt account. For operations,administration, salaries and expenses, or any other accounts comprised principally of personnel costs, personnel actions will be required to make the necessary reductions.Some agencies have authority to offer incentives for early retirement or other voluntaryseparations from federal employment. This will not be of significant help in meetingsequestration targets because all of the savings must be achieved in the remainingseven months of the fiscal year. Incentive payments and other termination costs willminimize savings from voluntary separations during that time period making itimpossible to use these tools to achieve the savings in the allotted time. In personnelaccounts, the only way to meet the targets is to use administrative furloughs.An administrative furlough is a planned event by an agency requiring employees to takeunpaid leave for specified times in an effort to reduce funding for any reason other thana lapse in appropriations. Unlike a lapse furlough, missed pay will likely not be restored.For more information, see http://www.opm.gov/furlough/Guidance-for-Administrative-Furloughs.pdf  Because agencies would still have funds available after March 1 but would have toreduce funding over the remainder of the year, they would have to provide advancenotice if furloughs prove to be necessary. Different notification requirements applydepending on the length of the furlough. Generally, employees must be given at least 30days notice for furloughs lasting 22 or fewer workdays and 60 days notice for more than22 days of furlough. Particular agencies will have additional requirements, as set forthin applicable laws, regulations, and collective bargaining agreements.
 
3In summary, agencies will not begin personnel actions such as furloughs immediately onMarch 1. In addition, administrative furloughs are the only available personnel actionsto meet sequestration targets in certain accounts, regardless of whether such leave isgood public policy or makes economic sense.Following are examples of the impact of such furloughs:
National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
The Y-
12 site, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is one of four production facilities in our Nation’s
nuclear weapons complex; its mission is to process and store uranium. During the earlymorning hours of July 28, 2012, three anti-nuclear protesters, including an 82 year-oldnun, were able to breach the Y-
12 site’s high
-security perimeter and reach the HighlyEnriched Uranium Materials Facility.The Energy Department Inspector General quickly completed an investigation. Notsurprisingly, the IG found "troubling displays of ineptitude in responding to alarms,failures to maintain critical security equipment, over reliance on compensatorymeasures, misunderstanding of security protocols, poor communications, andweaknesses in contract and resource management." The report also noted concerns
that “constrained Federal funding had negatively impacted security controls at Y
-
12.”
Nonetheless, sequestration would require the Y-12 site to furlough 700-1,000 of 4,500employees for a period of up to 6 months. Clearly, these layoffs will adversely impactefforts to improve security. Other NNSA facilities will also face furloughs. The PantexPlant in Amarillo, Texas will furlough up to 2,500 employees for 3 weeks. Los AlamosNational Lab in New Mexico will furlough over 500 for about 2 weeks. And SandiaNational Labs will lay off up to 100 positions and forgo hiring staff to support the B61bomb life extension program.The NNSA plays a critical national security role in developing and maintaining theNation's nuclear deterrent. In the area of our nuclear weapons stockpile, efforts torefurbish and extend the life of several weapons systems would be delayed, includingthe B-61, leading to increased costs and impacts to deployment and readiness in thefuture. Sequestration would erode the security posture at sites and facilities by layoffs,workforce reassignments, and project deferrals. Sequestration would hamper theinternal oversight function of DOE nuclear facilities and reduce the depth and frequencyof audits and evaluations needed to ensure ongoing robust security operations.

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