- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: ‘Playing defense on the one-yard line’
- Activists vow to occupy fast-food restaurants to get higher pay
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Senate Dems wary of immigration politics
- Summer camp for 1 percenters: Sushi, limos and shopping at FAO Schwarz
- Colorado gun crackdown law found to be built on faulty data
- Hank Aaron steps to fundraising plate for Democrat Michelle Nunn
- ISIL terrorists blow up burial site of Jonah, vow more of same
- Impeach Obama, say 35 percent in new poll
- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
Federal bonuses are early casualty in sequestration
Question of the Day
The White House budget office has told federal agencies to slow down new hiring, curtail travel and conferences, and to stop doling out bonuses unless absolutely required to by law, according to a new memo released late Wednesday.
Budget office controller Danny Werfel also warned agencies not to use outside contractors to try to get around the new limits on hiring.
The limits on bonuses and trips are unlikely to make a big dent in the $85 billion that agencies will be required to cut over the rest of this year. The Asbury Park Press, a New Jersey newspaper, reported last year that the federal government paid out $439 million in employee bonuses in 2011. Meanwhile, the House oversight committee said that big-dollar conferences amounted to $267.6 million in 2012.
But federal travel is a bigger cost, totaling $14.8 billion in 2012, the oversight committee said.
Departments are preparing to cut their biggest expenditures, which are usually salaries, by furloughing employees and cutting back on contracts.
“Agencies should identify any major contracts that they plan to cancel, re-scope or delay as well as any grants that they plan to cancel, delay, or for which they plan to change the payment amount,” Mr. Werfel said. “Similarly, agencies should identify the number of employees who will be furloughed, the length of expected furloughs, the timing of when furlough notices will be issued and the manner in which furloughs will be administered.”
The guidance comes with just hours to go before $85 billion in “sequester” cuts are due to begin Friday morning.
Sen. Tom Coburn, Congress’s top waste-watcher, has repeatedly called for the government to stop hiring for low-priority positions, pointing to ads over the last week for jobs paying more than $80,000 a year to handle schedules or screen phone calls at the Labor Department, or that pay $26 an hour to be a a driver a thte State Department.
President Obama has warned that the cuts will be felt deeply by all Americans, on everything from schools to border security. Immigration authorities have already released illegal immigrants from detention to begin to save money.
Republicans counter that the effects amount to 2 percent of federal spending and won’t be as bad as the White House claims.
But because the cuts are only directed at discretionary spending and won’t touch Social Security or other mandatory spending programs, the agencies that are cut will see deeper trims.
Mr. Werfel said domestic agencies will have to cut about 9 percent, and in the defense department, where the troops themselves have been spared, those programs subject to cutting will have to trim 13 percent.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lois Lerner emails reveal gaping open-records loophole
- Two-thirds of illegal immigrant children approved for asylum: report
- Top Justice official denies conspiring with IRS on tea party targeting
- Boehner: No bill on border surge
- Taking Obama to court a long shot but lawsuit not folly, Congress is told
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Obama takes aim at 'corporate deserters'
- Crime-ridden U.S. cities differ on ways to fight gun violence
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq