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Don’t blame the messenger: Planning for the sequester

A few items that caught our attention today:

Pentagon comptroller Robert F. Hale. (Chad McNeeley/Defense Department) Pentagon comptroller Robert F. Hale. (Chad McNeeley/Defense Department)

“When I walk down the hall, people still wave, but with fewer fingers.” Such is the life these days of perhaps any given agency CFO in charge of planning for the possible sequester, which would entail furloughs for many federal employees. Washington Post reporter Steve Vogel provided a brief day-in-the life profile of Pentagon comptroller Robert F. Hale.

Another woman for the Cabinet, but fewer chances for racial diversity. President Obama’s anticipated pick of Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency means he would have to fill five of the remaining seven Cabinet positions with minorities to maintain the level of racial diversity he reached in his first term. Two of the Cabinet’s four blacks and both Hispanics have left or announced plans for departure, leaving one Asian-American, as In the Loop’s Emily Heil pointed out in a blog item.

Two Hill staffers tied for most “cultural trips” abroad. Speaking of In the Loop, Emily Heil determined which congressional staffers racked up the most excursions abroad paid for by foreign governments. Washington Post reporter T.W. Farnam, who recently penned an article about this issue of so-called “cultural  exchange trips,” provided the figures: 109 days apiece for two chiefs of staff for two Republican lawmakers.

What if we sequester and nobody notices? That’s the question posed by Federal News Radio’s Mike Causey, who examined a reader’s question about whether there is any basis for the “horror stories” related to the threat of those deep automatic spending cuts.

Poll shows GOP losing the sequester blame game. A new survey from Pew Research and USA Today shows that a failure to reach a deal would lead 49 percent of Americans to blame congressional Republicans and 31 percent to blame President Obama, according to a blog item by The Fix’s Aaron Blake.


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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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