No 2014 Sequester
Following a dramatic year for federal employees, the office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a report earlier this month confirming that federal agencies will not experience any further sequester-related spending cuts.
The report comes after Congress passed a budget bill at the end of 2013. The budget partially rolled back previously mandated spending reductions in discretionary spending. Lawmakers also capped discretionary spending for the following year at the same level. Following a full-year 2014 appropriations bill, OMB Director Sylvia Burwell indicated that no 2014 sequester is required.
The news of no sequester-based cuts comes as welcome news to federal employees. Since the 2011 Budget Control Act, numerous federal agencies have experienced significant sequester-related cuts. For example, as a result of sequester, the Department of Defense (DoD) furloughed hundreds of thousands of employees. It was NFFE and its allies, however, who fought for and ultimately achieved a significant reduction in the number of furlough days at DoD in 2013.
This report also allows certain federal agencies to lift long-standing hiring freezes. One example is the Department of Justice (DOJ), which has lost nearly 4,000 jobs since 2011 that it has been unable to fill because of a sequester-related hiring freeze. With the freeze lifted, the DOJ will be able to begin filling the mission-critical positions.
With the passage of a congressional budget and OMB releasing this encouraging report, federal employees are able to take a brief sigh of relief following a tumultuous 2013.