Anxiety is once again growing within the federal workforce as agencies secretly prepare contingency plans for the looming across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.
If Congress does not act, $85 billion in automatic cuts would begin to take effect in two weeks.
Agencies, under instruction from the White House, are drafting plans to operate with their budgets slashed — and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a fresh warning Friday that hundreds of thousands of employee furloughs would be in order.
Which workers – and for how long – remains a mystery.
“It’s very, very real – and very, very concerning,” said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which represents roughly 150,000 workers across 31 federal agencies.
“What employees are saying is, ‘What about my agency? What about me?’”
Most of more than two-dozen federal workers and contractors contacted about the pending cuts said they were worried about the potential of losing wages to sequestration.