Civil servants who escape furloughs this month (if they do escape) may be in for even bigger job problems -- like being fired -- after the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1. At the moment about 9,000 feds here are candidates for unwanted and unpaid "vacations" this month.
Several agencies are short of money to meet payrolls for what is left of this fiscal year.
Unless Congress overrides President Reagan's veto of the supplemental appropriation when it returns next week (unlikely) or comes up with a measure he will sign (highly possible), furloughs for some people will begin by mid-month.
Beyond the furlough problem that looms for more than 50,000 civil servants nationwide lurks the chance of a new round of RIFs growing out of long-range budget problems, the 4 percent October pay raise and the new 1.3 percent Medicare tax feds will begin paying in January.
No agency budget for fiscal 1983 has cleared Congress. That means operations will have to be funded by stopgap continuing resolution (allowing them to spend at fiscal 1982 levels) until they get their new budgets.
If the Senate has its way, agency spending for the new fiscal year will be frozen at current levels.
In addition, Congress plans to force agencies to absorb 51 percent of the cost of the upcoming federal pay raise. And, unless it votes extra money, agencies also will have to finance the employer's share (also 1.3 percent) of the new Medicare tax.
All of this means that money is going to be tight. Most agencies will have to choose between cutting programs or laying people off to stay in business.
Congressional budget-watchers say the new round of RIFs could be even more severe than those that have taken place since President Reagan took office.
From inauguration day through March of this year about 3,000 federal workers here lost their jobs to RIFs (and another 20,000 jobs disappeared via attrition).
Nationwide the federal RIF totals were just over 9,600, with an overall loss of 40,000 U.S. jobs.
The next round of RIFs could be minimized if agencies get money to pay their share of the Medicare tax, and if Congress does not force them to eat too much of the new pay raise costs. Things will be tough even if all those good things happen, and there is no guarantee good things will happen.
The last impact of this fiscal year's RIFs is still showing up at some agencies here.
For example, Housing and Urban Development, with 4,159 full-timers here, is planning to abolish up to 130 jobs (with notice to employes going on Sept. 19). That will mean that between 300 and 400 HUD workers hit by the RIF ripples will either be fired, demoted or reassigned.
Interstate Commerce Commission plans to RIF more than 20 people from its Washington staff of just over 1,000. And the Health Care and Financing Administration is considering layoffs of upwards of 600 staffers, mostly from the Washington-Baltimore area.