OMB has released a report warning that without action during this year’s budget cycle to prevent it, sequestration would return in the upcoming fiscal year and would require reductions in agency budgets somewhat greater than what was imposed in 2013.
Because of those limits, close to 800,000 federal employees were furloughed without pay, most of them for one to seven days. In addition, according to a GAO review of actions by 23 departments and major agencies, 19 curtailed hiring; 16 reduced or delayed contracts or grants for core mission activities; 19 cut employee training; and 20 cut employee travel.
The OMB document, part of the larger budgetary package the administration is advocating for fiscal year 2016, says that defense-related activities are slated to be cut by $53.9 billion and non-defense discretionary spending by $36.5 billion, a total about $10 billion higher than the $80.5 billion that had to be achieved in 2013, under terms of an earlier budget law.
Since then, Congress and the White House have reached agreements that prevented sequestration in fiscal 2014 and 2015, and leaders of both have said they desire to prevent them again in 2016 at least, if not completely. However, that would take a long-range consensus that has been elusive.
While sequestration commonly is described as across-the-board cutting, various accounts are exempt, meaning that the impact falls all the more heavily on those that are subject to it. One potential difference in a 2016 sequester is that the cuts might be spaced over the entire fiscal year; in 2013, due to delays while leaders worked to avoid them, they ended up being concentrated in the last seven months of the fiscal year.
Article originally published at www.fedweek.com