Uncertainty in the federal governments budgeting process and temporary stopgap measures prevent agencies from planning for the fiscal year and wastes the time of federal employees while lowering their morale, witnesses said at a congressional hiring on the impact of crisis budgeting.
The National Park Service says sequestation will impact every aspect of its operations and cause the agency to leave 900 vacant positions unfilled and furlough some U.S. Park Police employees. FAA has now warned contractors that sequestration may delay, change or cancel work.
Employee furloughs are anticipated as part of the sequestration response plan for the Labor Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but HUD also plans to halt operations on the days employees are furloughed.
Unused federal courthouse space costs the government more than $51 million in maintenance and operations each year, finds the Government Accountability Office. The watchdog also reports that $835 million was spent from 2000 to 2010 to build unnecessary courthouse space.
The federal workforce would shrink by 10 percent by 2015 under a new budget plan from Rep. Paul Ryan. The plan suggests that federal workers ought to be more exposed to the struggles that private-sector workers face: "Immune from the effects of the recession, federal employees have received regular salary bumps regardless of productivity or economic realities."
Rep. Paul Ryan's plan for the federal budget would for two years sharply cut spending, as a share of gross domestic product, then gradually draw it down further until the budget balances in 10 years.
Federal courts will end up furloughing or laying off staff and delaying cases and the appointment of federal public defenders to meet budget cuts required under sequestration. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts says sequestration could cause civil jury trials to be suspended for six weeks.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has unveiled a $984 billion plan to fund the government for the rest of fiscal 2013 and avert a shutdown after March 27. The Senate proposal would amend the House CR by adding three full appropriations measures in the form of an Agriculture Department bill, Homeland Security Department bill and a bill with funding for Commerce, Justice, NASA and NSF.
"Ultimately, the administration will be judged on the transparency it delivered, not the transparency it envisioned or promised--and there is widespread agreement that the delivery has lagged," write report authors from the Center for Effective Government.
The whistleblower protection program at the Securities and Exchange Commission has timely operations for complaints and hotline calls, but it is too soon for the program to allow whistleblowers to file fraud lawsuits on behalf of the government, finds the SEC's office of inspector general.
Furloughs will force civilian employees out of work for up to 22 days with very few exceptions, said DoD Comptroller Robert Hale, who expects the action to hurt morale and productivity. Even agencies that are able to level spending with 5- or 10-day furlough periods would be subject to the longer, departmentwide period.
The Justice Department doesn't meet the statutory goal of completing at least 90 percent of its contractor security clearances within 60 days--mostly due to lengthy processing times at the FBI, says the DOJ office of inspector general.
The Agriculture Department has not found a way to meet the requirements of sequestration and avoid furloughing meat inspectors, said Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack.
Reviews conducted by the Defense Contract Audit Agency continually failed to meet established professional standards in fiscal 2010, says the Defense Department's inspector general.
The Senate Judiciary Committee March 7 approved a new anti-gun trafficking measure, making it the first gun measure to be considered before the full Senate since the Dec. 14 shooting that killed 26 people in Newtown, Conn.
The General Services Administration still permits vendors that provide inaccurate commercial sales data and supply unqualified labor to remain on schedules contract vehicles, says the agency's inspector general.
The Postal Service has the authority to adopt its proposed new delivery schedule even if the next continuing resolution doesn't provide specific language allowing it, says Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Federal agencies are working to finalize sequestration-related cuts and to explain reductions, furloughs and exemptions to their employees, employee unions and contractors.