Here’s What Federal Budget Cuts Mean for Defense Workers

If the United States Congress does not find a solution to avoid the mandatory budget cuts before the sequestration delay expires on March 1, the Pentagon will have to resort to decreasing its civilian staff.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told reporters from the Associated Press on Friday that hundreds of thousands of Pentagon civilian employees would face furloughs and reduced paychecks in April. The United States Department of Defense has approximately 800,000 civilian employees currently, and while none of them have been officially notified of the furlough that would cut their workweek by one day, the Pentagon has estimated that it would save $5 billion over the course of the current budget year.

In addition to the furloughs, the Pentagon will also be cutting its entire 46,000-person temporary civilian workforce, a process that has begun already…

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The Defense Department’s announcement comes as it’s becoming increasingly unlikely that Congress will be able to avoid the across-the-board government spending cuts. The United States avoided falling over the fiscal cliff — a combination of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes that were scheduled for January 1 — through a last minute compromise. The deal included a provision that would delay the “sequester,” which was the spending cut element of the cliff, for two months. The goal was to give Congress additional time to solve the problem. But as before, Republicans and Democrats are having trouble coming to an agreement.

The sequester is happening,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal earlier this week. “We expect that because we have yet to see Senate Democrats offer an alternative. We have yet to see the president offer an alternative that replaces those cuts. I’ve passed a bill twice that shows how we would replace those cuts with others. There have been no counteroffers on that front.”

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