Budget

Voices rise against coming cuts

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Private-sector groups and federal employee labor unions are raising the urgency level in their warnings about the consequences of sequestration, which is set to commence March 1.

"Time's Up. Leadership Needed Now," reads the headline of a letter from the members of the Professional Services Council to President Barack Obama and Congress, released Feb. 26.

The same day, the president of one labor union said the effects of sequestration would go beyond federal employees' offices and into their homes. (See related story.) "These are not theoretical consequences,” Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employee Union, said. “These are actual, serious problems that real people will face."

And the Federal Workers Alliance, a coalition of 20 unions collectively representing more than 300,000 federal workers, started a message board recently so employees could share their stories on how sequestration and furloughs would hit them personally.

In its open letter, the Professional Services Council offered two suggestions to congressional leaders and the president for handling sequestration and avoiding fiscal uncertainties. The council said Congress, the administration and its agency officials should make strategic and collaborative reductions.

"There are enormous opportunities to drive greater efficiency and effectiveness to achieve meaningful outcomes across government, but it will not happen through sequestration," the group wrote.

PSC’s leaders wanted to voice their concerns that, after more than 18 months of anticipating sequestration, both branches of government have failed to act to stop it.

"The professional services industry understands the necessity and inevitability of federal spending reductions and accepts that it will feel its share of the associated pain," Stan Soloway, president and CEO of PSC, said in a statement. "But, in making those reductions, agencies should have the flexibility to do so strategically, collaboratively and holistically so as not to hurt mission execution."

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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