White House Budget Office Issues Memo Requesting Agency Budget Reductions of 5-10% for FY 2013
With Congress and the Administration reaching a deal to raise the debt ceiling earlier this month, the job of implementing the trillions in spending reductions appears to be well underway.
In a memorandum issued to the heads of all federal departments and agencies last week, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Jacob Lew called for federal leadership to trim their budget request by as much as ten percent for their fiscal year 2013 budget requests. Citing the recent debt-limit compromise, Lew requested that all budget submissions come in at least 5 percent lower than current levels.
The memo also calls for an additional 5 percent in discretionary spending reductions, bringing the total to 10 percent below FY 2011 levels. This additional five percent will be considered as alternatives should the administration not approve of some or all of the preceding 5 percent in reductions. The memo states that some agencies will be cut more than others, but in the end everyone will have to make some adjustments.
Such sizable reductions in funding will have serious consequences for federal agencies as they struggle to stay afloat on already slim budgets. Losing 5-10% on top of existing shortfalls will likely lead to workforce reductions, fewer federal services, and longer wait times for the services that are spared.
“Asking federal agencies to cut so much from their budget in such a short period of time is simply unsustainable,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “This will cost jobs, cut services, and result in a logistical nightmare for federal agencies.”
“This is not what the American people bargained for,” said NFFE Legislative Director Randy Erwin. “Nobody is asking for less funding for veterans programs, border security, or food and safety inspections, but that is what they’re getting. The American people are being swindled – all the corporate tax loopholes and pet projects are still intact, but the critical services Americans need that federal employees provide are being gutted. Where are our priorities?”