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Pick your sequester scenario

tea leaves

Can you read the tea leaves on sequestration? (Photo by Cyron via Flickr under Creative Commons license.)

Is the sequester a certainty? Legislators and agency leaders alike are now saying the March 1 cuts will likely take effect. But former Government Accountability Office executive Paul Posner told the Federal Times this week that "the full sequester is only one of 20 potential scenarios."

Posner, who was GAO's director of Federal Budget and Intergovernmental Relations and now heads George Mason University's Master's in Public Administration program, told FCW on Feb. 5 that a "short sequester" seems probable, but there is still "considerable uncertainty surrounding the outcome."

Name a solution

Full sequester? Another extension? Call the whole thing off? Let us know in the comments what you think should be done.

The March 1 cuts are relatively small compared to past sequesters, Posner said, noting that cuts of 25 percent were threatened in a 1990 sequester that prompted a bipartisan grand bargain. And this time, he said, is appears that most everyone "dislikes the alternatives to sequester even more than they dislike the sequester."

However, a budget deal to extend the continuing resolution that expires March 27 could roll back some or all of the sequester, Posner said. And there could be legislation that preserves the overall cuts, but gives agencies more flexibility in how to apply them.

Those hoping for an expert prediction, however, are out of luck: "I would not bet on any outcome at this point," Posner said.

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Feb 06, 2013 at 12:10 PM

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 still working?

its easy to say, go ahead do it. but would you say the same if your income was being cut or removed? it is a big deal for those who are ordinary middle income federal goverment employees. to lose so much income and still be able to pay the bills wil be impossible for some. we can all agree that there needs to be serious spending cuts and permanent ones. but pehaps a more surgical precision in cutting needs to be done instread of this hatchet chop across the necks of hard working people.....i see that political appontees will be exempt..hhmmmm.

Tue, Feb 12, 2013 amajorpain Virginia

Let us NOT get off topic. This is still a simple matter. 1- The government extract too much from the private sector. 2- The mucked up government spends much more than it extracts from the private. 3- The government is a voracious beast and is attracting way more attention than it deserves. 4- The government neglects its primary obligation: Serve We The People. The solution is equally simple: 1- Cut government in half and then cut it half again. 2- We The People would have a lot less government to wrangle and keep under control. PS: The state governments are too big AND additionally the general government forgets it did not create itself. The states created the general government yet the states have come to rely on the ever-ineffectual general government? ...because it is too big! CUT! CUT! CUT!

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 Retired Soldier

Let it happen and get on with Life. Everyone is making a Mountain out of a Mole Hill. We spend too, too much $$ on Defense Contractors (Large and Small !!!!)fighting over who has the most influence.

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