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Panetta notifies Congress of worker furlough if cuts occur

By Bloomberg News

This article was published February 20, 2013 at 9:08 a.m.

— Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said he notified Congress of plans to impose furloughs on the Pentagon’s civilian employees should automatic budget cuts take effect March 1 and “continue for a substantial period.”

Panetta said in a message Wednesday to about 800,000 Department of Defense employees that the “vast majority” of them would have to take unpaid leave and that they would get at least 30 days’ notice if that is to happen.

“We are doing everything possible to limit the worst effects on DoD personnel but I regret that our flexibility within the law is extremely limited,” Panetta said. “The president has used his legal authority to exempt military personnel funding from sequestration, but we have no legal authority to exempt civilian personnel funding from reductions.”

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter last week in congressional testimony said furloughs are likely to average one day a week for as many as 22 weeks, resulting in a 20 percent cut in pay for civilians.

Read more in Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Comments on: Panetta notifies Congress of worker furlough if cuts occur

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Grayhair says... February 20, 2013 at 11:49 a.m.

Ah, as a federal employee myself, I am already so overcompensated through pay, benefits, luxurious working conditions and no expectations to do anything beyond take naps all day that taking a 20% pay cut is nothing. I doubt the thousands of us under federal employment will even notice the drop. It will just give us one extra day a week to do nothing at home rather than do nothing at work. If you don't believe me, ask any member of the Tea Party or Republican Party and they'll back me up.

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PenLR says... February 20, 2013 at 11:56 a.m.

Senator Obama supported sequestration so President Obama could save the day by exempting the same military personnel that he put in danger in the first place.

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Grayhair says... February 20, 2013 at 12:02 p.m.

It is my understanding Military personnel are not at risk. Civilian personnel who happen to be government employees working for the military and other agencies are the ones at risk. But, regardless, if Obama did try to take some steps to preclude sequestration as Mr. Penbar suggests, I think the entire Republican Party would be thrown into convulsions. But apparently, also as Mr. Penbar suggests, all the power throughout the entire process has been under the control of Obama. Somehow, I doubt it is that simplistic.

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JessePinkman says... February 20, 2013 at 12:22 p.m.

Keep kicking the can down the road; it will all be just fine. If you don't believe me, ask any liberal or yellow dog Democrat and they'll back me up.

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dman says... February 20, 2013 at 12:44 p.m.

Obama did suggest the sequestration in order to get Repubs to agree to raising the debt limit in August, 2011. Then he blew it off, saying "it won't happen" while he twisted arms to get a tax increase in December, 2012. Now that he's faced with his own sequestration threats, he's trying to lay the blame at the feet of Congress. Somehow, based on his past record, I believe he will be successful.

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Namsaev says... February 20, 2013 at 1:36 p.m.

Remember when it was suggested Congress do something to get around sequestration. Obama said, you try it and I'll veto it. Make the deal happen. Then yesterday it was sequestration will be so bad we need to take baby steps and play kick the can.

The fact when he made his speech he had first responders behind him was pure fresh male bovine manure. The federal government provides very little if any funding for first responders at the local level.

And Greyhair is right on both counts one civilians aren't over worked and the military is exempted.

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