Sequestration could mean furlough days
With the March 1 sequestration means the loss of jobs and furlough days for many civilian workers within the Department of Defense.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta notified congress on Feb. 20 that sequestration could mean furlough days for the civilian workforce. Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica Wright stated on the Department of Defense website, www.defense.gov, that furloughs would mean civilians would see a 20 percent decrease in their pay between April and November.
For the Air Force alone this could impact 180,000 civilian workers resulting in 22 working furlough days and the loss of 31.5 million man hours of productivity according to an article at www.af.mil.
This would have a huge impact on the United States Air Force Academy, Schriever Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force Base and Fort Carson. El Paso County is home to four of the five military installations in Colorado.
“We don't know how this is going to unfold,” John VanWinkle, spokesperson for the academy said.
VanWinkle said that the academy has approximately 1,500 appropriated fund civilian employees that could be affected by the furloughs. Of those 1,500 at least 300 are civilian academic instructors which make up 37 percent of the academy's instructor force.
VanWinkle said they would just have to wait and see what happens. Sequestration doesn't just affect the DOD. Several other government programs will be hit with cuts.
What is sequestration?
It is automatic cuts to the federal budget. According to the Budget Control Act of 2011 discretionary spending must be cut over a 10-year period. Congress put in the act that if a deal wasn't reached to cut $1.5 trillion over a 10-year period then automatic across the board cuts in government spending would be made. This is known as sequester.
The sequester was originally supposed to go into effect on Jan. 1, however because of the American Taxpayer Relief Act that was passed the budget cuts were pushed back to March 1. Approximately $85 million will be cut if Congress cannot come to an agreement on a budget. More than $42 billion of those cuts would be to defense.
Other programs that would see cuts include: NASA, FEMA, Head Start, FBI, federal prison system, immigration enforcement, the Centers for Disease Control, public housing, FDA, special education, energy department, National Science Foundation, Library of Congress and the Patent and Trademark office. Medicaid, Social Security and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families are exempt from sequester.
County could see effects of sequestration