With the two year sequestration reprieve that came from the Murray-Ryan budget deal last year, the Defense Department has begun to rebound from the automatic spending cuts, but that could all be for naught if those cuts come back next year, DoD Deputy Secretary Robert Work said at a Nov. 12 Center for Strategic and International Studies event. The budget deal expires at the end of fiscal 2015 and if sequestration is reinstated in full, it would cause major problems for the DoD, Work said at the event.
Sequestration caused Internal Revenue Service to help about 300,000 fewer taxpayers, the Agriculture Department to give food stamp aid to fewer people in need and agencies to furlough more than 770,000 workers, a March 6 Government Accountability Office report says.
Faced with $200 million in mandatory cuts required by sequestration, the Coast Guard responded by decreasing drug interdiction efforts along ocean transit routes, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp said. He said the lessened Coast Guard presence in maritime routes between South and Central America resulted in about a 30 percent reduction in drug interdiction.
Sequestration will hit harder in fiscal 2014 than it did because cuts will be larger and one-time fixes that mitigated the impacts last year cannot be used again, a Nov. 21 Center for American Progress report says. Sequestration will cut $24 billion more in 2014 than it did in 2013, because Congress partially repealed the 2013 sequester in the American Taxpayer Relief Act, the report says.
The Postal Service ended fiscal 2013 with a loss of $5 billion, down from a $16 billion loss in fiscal 2012, say USPS financials released Nov. 15. Still, that marks seven consecutive years that USPS incurred a loss, a Postal Service release on its financial statement (.pdf) says. The Post Office has lost money for seven consecutive years, the Postal Service acknowledges in a release on its financial statement (.pdf).
It can be difficult to connect sequestration to specific impacts at the Defense Department with so many other variables at play, the Government Accountability Office says. For the first half of fiscal 2013, before sequestration went into effect, DoD was operating under a continuing resolution, which already affected its budget authority and flexibility, the GAO notes in a Nov. 7 report.
Sequestration cut an already-declining intelligence community budget by more than $4 billion in fiscal 2013, recently released statistics from the Defense Department and the National Intelligence Director show.
The Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management issued joint guidance that establishes spending caps on federal employee bonuses, but doesn't ban them, regardless of whether sequestration continues. The guidance (.pdf) caps employee bonuses at no more than one percent of aggregate salary. Senior Executive Service member bonuses are capped at no more than five percent of aggregate salary. Budgetary limitations do not apply to political appointees. The OPM guidance from August 2010 cancelling all discretionary bonuses for political appointees continues to be in effect.
Until it receives appropriations for fiscal 2014, the General Services Administration won't pay any utility bills whose meter-read end date falls on Oct. 1 or later.
Inspectors general says sequestration spending cuts hamper their ability to provide oversight, a Sept. 17 Association of Government Accountants survey says. About two-thirds of IGs surveyed by the association say sequestration is the biggest obstacle to doing their job, the report says.