Even as it warns that sequesters are still biting, the Obama administration announced Tuesday that it’s been able to keep the IRS open and running without having to furlough employees next week.
In order to meet its lower budget targets the IRS had initially told employees it would have to furlough them for five days between March 1 and Sept. 30. But with less than a week to go before the fourth furlough day next Monday, the agency said Tuesday it’s been able to find enough money to keep employees on the job, according to the labor union that represents staffers.
“While I am concerned that this announcement comes so close to the planned furlough day, it is a positive development arising from our continuing discussions with the agency on furloughs,” said National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) President Colleen M. Kelley. “We have been encouraging the agency, and working with it, in an effort to find savings sufficient to allow it to cancel employee furloughs.”
During the previous furloughs the IRS shut down and wasn’t available to help taxpayers or to do any of its other investigative functions.
Still to be settled is a fight over bonuses to IRS employees.
The Obama administration has directed agencies to scrap any bonuses it can legally cancel in order to save money, but NTEU argues its employees earned those bonuses last year and are entitled to them. The union said the IRS should be able to cancel the furloughs and pay the bonuses.