Most Government Agencies Avoided Sequester Furloughs

Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 11:02 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The Obama administration warned of widespread furloughs due to funding cuts from the sequestration last year, but most agencies reduced spending without employees being affected.

Just seven of 23 agencies used furloughs to achieve the required $80.5 billion cuts, with the Defense Department accounting for 82 percent of all furloughs, a new report by the Government Accountability Office found, according to The Weekly Standard.
 
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano warned at the time that her agency would be forced to furlough employees for up to 14 days. In the end, she shifted funds from other budgets to cover salaries. For example, Customs and Border Protection shifted $7 million from its border security fencing account to salaries and expenses, according to the publication.

The report said that "19 agencies reported curtailing hiring; 16 reported rescoping or delaying contracts or grants for core mission activities; 19 reported reducing employee training; and 20 reported reducing employee travel," according to The Weekly Standard.

The GAO recommended that agencies publish the criteria used to determine how sequestration was implemented, how exemptions were determined, and how the principles used to make decisions in 2013 could be applied to possible future sequestrations, The Standard reported.

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