Smithsonian would keep regular hours under sequester

A few items that caught our attention today:

Smithsonian Castle (AP) Smithsonian Castle (AP)

Smithsonian vows to keep doors open under sequester. The world’s largest museum system said it’s attractions will remain open during regular hours if the automatic spending cuts take effect starting Friday, according to an article from the Associated Press. The Smithsonian said it would have to trim its budget by $40 million, but the institution claims it can do so by scaling back on maintenance and new construction, as well as with a hiring freeze, the AP said.

Army assault ladders: Priceless. No, really. Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Afghanistan has requested  fast delivery of “150 lightweight assault ladders” that will come by way of a no-bid, single-source contract worth $ [deleted], according to In the Loop. “Hmmm. Maybe they keep the cost a secret lest the Taliban find out?,” wrote columnist Al Kamen.

Sequester will sock a vulnerable economy, then possibly help it grow faster. The automatic cuts would come at a particularly inopportune time for the still-fragile U.S. economic recovery, and the Washington area would certainly feel the pain more than most areas. One silver lining: A few economists think the reductions could eventually help the economy grow faster than it otherwise would have. That’s according to a front-page article in Wednesday’s Washington Post.

Sequester impacts would depend on who you are and where you live. As Post reporter Philip Rucker states it: “The sequester is really like a tornado, scattershot in its course. It would strike some communities and largely bypass others, cutting across class, politics and geography.” For more, read his article on the effects.

Unlike a shutdown, the sequester wouldn’t spare “essential” fed workers. That means law enforcement officers, including FBI agents, guards with the Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Marshals Service deputies, Secret Service agents and Customs and Border Patrol officers would be furloughed, according to an article by Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson.

Possible titles for Hilary Clinton’s memoir. In the Loop asked its readers to recommend names for a life chronicle the former secretary of state said she plans to write. Hundreds of entries came in. The winning titles include “Stuck with the Bill” and “If It’s 3 a.m., the Machine Can Get It,” as well as “Hard Times, Soft Power.”


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Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.
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