The Threat of Sequestration

As Congress and the White House wrangle over long-term fiscal issues, the prospect looms of automatic, across the board cuts in discretionary federal spending -- a process known as sequestration. Check back to this page often for the latest updates on how the situation is unfolding.
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Six Areas Where the New Congress Could Squeeze Feds

November 6, 2014 Union leaders are worried about pay and benefits under Republican control.

Did Budget Cuts Cause the Secret Service Failures?

October 3, 2014 Independent review likely will focus on White House safety and agency culture, not money.

CBO: Sequestration Cuts Are Unlikely This Year

August 15, 2014 The 2014 budget remains sufficient to avoid across-the-board reductions before the fiscal year ends.

Virginia state capitol in Richmond.

Defense Cuts Come Home to Roost -- In Virginia

August 15, 2014 The state faces a $2.4 billion shortfall; governor blames sequestration.

How to Win a Furlough Appeal

August 14, 2014 Tens of thousands of employees challenged their loss of work (and income) during sequestration; a few were successful.

Yes, Defense Furloughs Hurt Morale and Employee Retention

June 17, 2014 Officials at three sites tell watchdog the mandatory unpaid leave created rifts within the workforce.

Uncertainty Surrounding the Sequester Made a Measurable Difference Even on the Local Level

May 29, 2014 Watchdog details impacts including larger elementary school classrooms and less-frequent health facility inspections.

More Agencies Offer Buyouts and Early Retirement

February 4, 2014 Employees at EPA and BBG can apply to receive up to $25,000 to leave service.

“Continued underfunding of the IRS means refunds will be delayed, taxpayers will sit on hold and tax help will be available to fewer and fewer Americans,” said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union.

The Spending Bill’s Biggest Losers

January 15, 2014 Some agencies still would be hurt by sequestration under the omnibus, despite partial repeal of automatic cuts.

Contractors Report Revenue Losses from Sequestration

December 17, 2013 Survey shows two-thirds of 220 firms were adversely affected.

Poll: Majority of Americans Say Bag Sequestration

December 10, 2013 61 percent of those surveyed would undo all or some of the automatic budget cuts.

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Agents Worry Criminals Will Have It Easier if Sequestration Continues

December 4, 2013 Furloughs, hiring freeze will prevent FBI from properly conducting its mission, group says.

Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., will introduce the Provide for the Common Defense Act along with Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla.

GOP Lawmakers: Cut Fed Benefits, Not Defense Spending

December 3, 2013 House Republicans pitch less generous retirement packages to offset national security side of sequestration.

Think Tanks Duel Over Easing Sequestration

November 26, 2013 New progressive plan would count debt reduction from fiscal cliff deal toward sequester goals.

USDA was able to avoid furloughing meat inspectors in 2013.

Expect Sequestration to Hit Much Harder in 2014, Report Says

November 22, 2013 One-time fixes that lessened the blow in 2013 are no longer available.

Pentagon Comptroller: Budget Uncertainty is 'Taking Its Toll'

November 14, 2013 Hale recounts how spending strategies are formed, then tossed.

Tight Funding Is Starving Financial Regulatory Agency, Outgoing Official Says

November 1, 2013 Free to speak on final day, CFTC enforcement director calls agency 'absolutely undersized.'

The Blue Angels fly over the San Francisco Bay during Fleet Week.

The Blue Angels Are Back in Action

October 24, 2013 Squadron of stunt pilots will be operating its full tour schedule this year, Navy announces.

Federal Agencies Lost 6,000 Jobs in September

October 22, 2013 The government has shed 87,000 jobs in the last 12 months.

Poll: It's Like the Sequester Never Happened

October 10, 2013 Nearly three in four Americans have seen no impact.

Chief Financial Officers Lament Decline in Government Services

October 8, 2013 Survey shows clash of diminished resources and expanded reporting requirements.

Many Federal Employees Are Facing Second Set of Furloughs in Six-Month Span

September 30, 2013 A potential government shutdown will hit many of the same workers as sequestration with unpaid leave.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus

Navy Chief: Sequester Threatens to Undo Four Years of Progress

September 26, 2013 Mabus warns industry group that ships are sailing less, pilots flying less.

Analysis: The Sequester Is a Disaster, and Congress's Next Move May Be Worse

September 19, 2013 From national parks to medical research, cuts are undermining what makes America great. Yet Republicans seem set on shutting down the government or even default.

Pentagon Should Set Priorities for Industrial Base, Says Analyst

September 17, 2013 Budget cuts without planning risk loss of vital contractor capability.

Report Says Budget Cuts Led to Security Lapses at Navy Yard

September 17, 2013 Convicted felons received unauthorized installation access, audit finds.

Obama Dares Republicans to Defy Tea Party on Obamacare, Shutdown Deal

September 17, 2013 President asks moderates to help pass a budget compromise and debt-ceiling increase.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the cuts in July.

Bipartisan Letter Suggests Pentagon Include Contractors in Staff Cuts

September 13, 2013 Lawmakers advise the Defense secretary to review all options before slashing the headquarters workforce by 20 percent.

In late 1995, the Lincoln Memorial was closed due to a government shutdown.

Timeline: When to Expect a Possible Shutdown, and Other Key Fiscal Deadlines

September 13, 2013 Congress faces battles over appropriations, the debt ceiling and round two of the sequester.

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Plans 10 Furlough Days for 2014

September 13, 2013 New director has vowed to raise awareness of sequestration’s impact.

Sequester and Budget Stalemate Worry Backers of Air Traffic Modernization

September 13, 2013 Short-term FAA funding cuts put long-term airport improvements at risk.

National Intelligence Director James Clapper

Sequester Forces Intel Agencies to Take More Risks, Chief Says

September 12, 2013 Automatic cuts' effect on intelligence-gathering won’t be obvious right away, Clapper warns.

What (or Who) Is 'Responsible' in Today's Fiscal Reality?

September 12, 2013 Senators and experts play the blame game ahead of looming budget talks.

Congressional Leaders Meet as Fiscal Fights Loom Large

September 12, 2013 A potential government shutdown and national default hang in the balance.

So Many Bosses, But Who’s Doing the Real Work?

September 11, 2013 Smart staffing can boost efficiency and morale in a tight budget landscape.

A Postal Service employee holds a 2010 census form.

Census Bureau Struggles With Sequester and Pressure to Cut Costs

September 11, 2013 House members voice privacy concerns in move toward interagency records sharing.

Independent Agency Makes Headway on Furlough Appeals

September 11, 2013 MSPB begins to consolidate and adjudicate record number of appeals.

Defense Audit Agency Says Sequester Caused It to Leave Money on the Table

September 9, 2013 $11 million cut in auditing budget cost $74 million in excess contractor payments, DCAA says.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.

How Syria Will Affect the Sequester Fight

September 5, 2013 Republicans say we're starving the military of necessary funds; others are less convinced.

Another Year of Sequester Will Hamstring Workplace Safety, Study Says

August 29, 2013 Think tank blasts cuts that force OSHA to reduce health inspections.