Budget pain reaches government’s number crunchers


A few items that caught our attention today:

President Obama talks about the sequester during a news conference at the White House on March 1. (Shawn Thew/EPA)
President Obama talks about the sequester during a news conference at the White House on March 1. (Shawn Thew/EPA)

The White House budget office plans to furlough employees. Not even the administration’s number crunchers can escape the cuts they’ve had to calculate due to the sequester. The Office of Management and Budget sent notice to workers that it will furlough them for 10 days between April 21 and early September, according to an article in Friday’s Washington Post.

“A small knife will not enable a terrorist to bring down an airplane.” That was TSA’s response to criticism of its plan to allow pocket knives, souvenir bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment as carry-on items for air travelers. Labor groups representing flight workers have criticized the change in policy. See the article from Friday’s Washington Post.

Some veterans will feel the sequester, even if the VA is immune. The Department of Veterans Affairs is entirely exempt from the automatic budget cuts, but the reductions will hit veterans programs in other agencies, according to an article in Friday’s Washington Post.

Sally Jewell takes heat during confirmation hearing. The REI CEO and interior secretary nominee appeared nervous and uncomfortable at times as Republicans questioned her support for a carbon tax and her involvement with a conservation group that has sued the federal government several times, according to a Politico article.

Did NASA provide China with access to sensitive information? The FBI is trying to answer that question after a whistleblower said the agency hired a contractor connected with a Chines organization flagged as a potential national-security threat, according to a report by Federal News Radio.

Sequester punctures Beltway economy. The D.C. area’s dependence on a single source — the government — for most of its economic growth could mean trouble for the region, which was largely immune to the last economic downturn. That’s according to a front-page article in Friday’s Washington Post.


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Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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Steve Vogel · March 8, 2013