Spending Cuts Likely to Trigger Furloughs
September 6, 2012
Federal agencies will have to consider furloughing employees if Congress and the White House cannot reach a deal before the end of the year to stave off the governmentwide automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect in January 2013, according to a former top budget aide on Capitol Hill.
“I’m afraid you are going to have to be looking at furloughs,” Bill Hoagland, a longtime policy and budget adviser to former Republican Sens. Bill Frist of Tennessee and Pete Domenici of New Mexico, told an audience of federal employees during Government Executive’s Excellence in Government conference in Washington on Thursday. Hoagland said if furloughs are to occur at some agencies, managers will have to decide them wisely to avoid triggering reductions-in-force among staff, which could be costly. A furlough of more than 30 calendar days, or of more than 22 discontinuous work days, is considered a RIF, according to the Office of Personnel Management.
Hoagland, now vice president of public policy at CIGNA Corp., is not optimistic that Congress can cut a deal to avoid the spending cuts, known in budget parlance as sequestration, before the Jan. 2 deadline.