Sequestration..some insight

[B]Sequestration is here. Now what?[/B]

[B][B]Posted to[/B]: Military News [/B]
[B]RELATED[/B]

[ul]
[li]Impact of sequester locally is unknown - Mar. 2, 2013[/li][li]Gridlock: No budging at the budget-cuts deadline - Mar. 1, 2013[/li][li]Hagel: Budget cuts won’t erode U.S. military - Mar. 1, 2013[/li][li]Comfort arrives in Norfolk under threat of sequestration - Mar. 1, 2013[/li][li]ODU: Sequestration will cost the region 12,000 jobs- Mar. 2, 2013[/li][/ul]

By Bill Bartel
The Virginian-Pilot
© March 3, 2013So, it’s Saturday. We’re still here. Life goes on. But as you’ve probably heard, sequestration has dawned. And you might have plenty of questions about how these automatic budget cuts affect you - or your neighbors, or Hampton Roads in general. Below are some of the key things you need to know about the unfunny phenomenon with the funny name.
[B]Q How did we get here, and who is responsible?[/B]
A The automatic, across-the-board cut was dreamed up during budget negotiations in 2011 when politicians were fighting over the debt ceiling. The sequester was never supposed to happen; it was designed to be an economic wrecking ball so ridiculous that even feuding legislators and the White House would find a way to compromise and stop it.
Obviously, it wasn’t ridiculous enough, because here we are.
The heart of the issue is the national debt, which has been rising steadily for more than a decade and now stands at about $16.6 trillion. Last year, the government borrowed $1.1 trillion to cover its expenses - the equivalent of $2.1 million every minute.
While each side accuses the other of creating the sequester, the truth is, it was a group effort. The bill that raised the debt ceiling - and included the threat of sequester - was approved by the Republican-majority House and the Democrat-controlled Senate and signed into law by President Barack Obama.
Hampton Roads’ delegation was split, with Reps. Scott Rigell, R-Virginia Beach, and Rob Wittman, R-Westmoreland County, voting yes and Reps. Randy Forbes, R-Chesapeake, and Bobby Scott, D-Newport News, voting no.
Sen. Mark Warner and then-Sen. Jim Webb, both Virginia Democrats, voted for the bill.
The cuts were to begin on Jan. 1, but Congress and the White House agreed to a two-month delay. Now, the government must trim $85 billion by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
[B]Q. How does the sequester work? What government services and military spending is not affected?[/B]
A. With some exceptions - mostly in programs involving the elderly, lower-income families and military salaries - the cuts are inflexible and across the board, involving nearly all federal spending programs. Divided evenly between defense and non-defense spending, the cuts are to be spread uniformly over the next nine years, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Certain programs are exempt. Among the biggest are Social Security, Medicaid, veterans’ benefits, retirement programs and refundable tax credits, according to the Congressional Research Service. War spending will remain intact, although it is already slowing significantly.
Child health care and nutrition programs - things like school lunches, foster care, Pell Grants and assistance for lower-income families - are also exempt.
Some programs are subject to limited cuts. Examples include Medicare, student loans, federal pay, unemployment compensation and some federally funded community health services.
Military pay and benefits remain untouched for now, but some experts have warned that Tricare, the military’s health care plan, could face problems later this year.
[B]Q. Why does cutting $85 billion from a budget of more than $3 trillion cause so much pain? Isn’t it a drop in the bucket?[/B]
A. Relatively speaking, it is a small part of a large federal budget. However, the sequester’s impact is huge - particularly in Hampton Roads - because the cuts are focused on specific parts of the federal government. This was intentional so that they would hurt programs important to many legislators.
For example, the Defense Department has to absorb half the automatic cuts even though its 2012 budget - about $614 billion - accounts for about one-fifth of all federal spending. The Navy is being forced to cut $4 billion in six months from its $154 billion annual budget.
The Pentagon also is forbidden to cut the pay and benefits of uniformed personnel.
Because many big-ticket domestic programs are exempt, the remaining non-defense programs will have to trim spending between now and Sept. 30 by 9 percent, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget. The Pentagon will trim 13 percent of what they would have spent during the next seven months.
The cuts also must be spread across the board. This means, for example, that the Federal Aviation Administration cannot exempt air traffic controllers’ pay by cutting more somewhere else.
The result is that many agencies are making plans to furlough employees, giving them as much as one day a week off without pay - as the Defense Department has warned - to reduce their budgets.
[B]Q. What’s different today, now that the sequester has begun? When will we notice?[/B]
A. In short, not a whole lot. Some have likened sequestration to tumbling down an increasingly steep hill, as opposed to falling off a cliff. The worst pain comes later.
The Navy on Friday released a list of reductions effective immediately while promising to hold off on other planned cuts - including canceling shipyard contracts - as long as possible. Next month, the Navy will shut down one of its nine carrier air wings, including a squadron of F/A-18 Hornets based at Oceana Naval Air Station. Other government agencies also have developed plans to roll out reductions over time.
You might begin to notice if there’s no resolution before April, when hundreds of thousands of government workers - including up to 39,000 Navy and Marine Corps civilian employees in Hampton Roads - are expected to be furloughed. Most have been told they will be sent home without pay one day a week for 22 weeks, which amounts to a 20 percent pay cut for that period.
Officials have warned of delayed flights, reduced hours at national parks and possible meat shortages related to a reduction in food inspectors.
[B]Q. I’m in the military or am a military family member. How will the sequester affect me and my family?[/B]
A. The reality of sequestration hit early for thousands of Hampton Roads sailors and their families when the Pentagon decided to cancel the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman’s deployment last month with less than two days to spare. The last-minute call meant a whirlwind of changes for sailors who had packed possessions into storage and for spouses who had prepared for their loved ones to be away for eight to 10 months. More deployment changes - and uncertainty - are ahead.
Because training and maintenance cutbacks are required by the sequester, Navy brass warn that some ships won’t be ready to deploy on time, while others could remain out indefinitely.
The Navy says furloughs will affect military medical facilities, including Portsmouth Naval Medical Center. The Navy’s surgeon general has said that doctors might be forced to delay some elective procedures and refer some patients to private sector clinics - a move that likely would cost the government more in the long run.
Other impacts: Beginning in April, commissaries will be closed on Wednesdays, unplanned drop-off hours at military child care centers will be reduced and many uniformed personnel likely will take on heavier workloads to compensate for the drop in civilian employee hours.
[B]Q. I’m not in the military but live in Hampton Roads. How will I be affected?[/B]
A. Anyone working for the government or benefiting from federal government programs will eventually feel some impact, whether it’s longer lines at airport security checkpoints, longer waits for trial dates or slowdowns to the defense industry that could eventually ripple through Hampton Roads’ economy.
Economists at Old Dominion University on Friday predicted the region would lose more than 12,200 jobs if sequestration continues through the end of 2013, with a total economic impact of $2 billion.
According to Stateline.org, Virginia will be the state most affected by sequestration; Pentagon contracts accounted for more than 8 percent of the state’s economy in 2011.
“If sequestration occurs as it’s currently laid out, Virginia will end up in recession,” said Christine Chmura, an economist with Chmura Economics and Analytics who worked with George Mason University to study the potential effects of the cuts, according to Stateline. "I don’t think the nation will. I think activity will slow in the nation, slow to a crawl.
“But make no mistake,” she added, "it is going to hit (Virginia) harder than other places."
Cuts to federal education funding will put some teacher and teacher’s aide jobs at risk; there will be fewer Head Start and Early Head Start spots for pre-K children; tuition assistance for college students will shrink; and there will be fewer work-study jobs on campuses.
Furloughs mean government offices will have leaner staffing, and it might be harder to get a federal worker on the phone. You could see longer lines at the post office, longer waits for takeoff on runways and lengthier processing times for passports. Prisoners in federal facilities could face longer lockdowns.
The IRS would take longer to respond to inquiries from taxpayers.
If you work in military industries such as ship, aircraft and weapons building, you will probably feel the repercussions as military contracts slow. Companies are already saying they will probably have to cut pay or lay off workers - or both. There could be economic ripple effects on home sales and property values. If you own a rental property, it might be more difficult to find a tenant. Car dealers might see a drop, and retail businesses could suffer.
[B]Q. Is this reversible? If Congress strikes a deal 10 days from now, or two months from now, will everything go back to the way it was before?[/B]
A. Yes, but not totally.
Because most of the cuts are staggered over the next several months, there’s still time to undo them. However, the longer this drags on without a resolution - particularly for the Navy - the harder and more expensive it will be to return to normal.
For example, once the service shuts down four of its carrier air wings and begins the process of putting jets in long-term storage - a maneuver known as “bagging the jets” - defense officials estimate it will cost three times as much and take up to a year to restore pilot skills and airplane efficiency.
If sequestration ends, the Truman won’t suddenly deploy, canceled ship repair contracts will have to be restarted and air shows that have already been canceled - including the annual show at Langley Air Force Base - still won’t happen.
Cuts involving personnel will be easier to resolve; in theory, the furloughs would end, and those services would return to normal operation.
[B]Q. Is this as bad as it gets?[/B]
A. Nope. If sequestration is the gloom, the doom could arrive March 27. That’s the deadline for Congress to pass a new budget. If it continues to fund the government at 2012 levels - under what’s called a continuing resolution - the Navy will have to reduce spending by an additional $4.6 billion during the last six months of the fiscal year. Much of the savings would come from canceled shipyard contracts.
Of course, there’s an even worse-case scenario: If Congress doesn’t act before the next deadline, the government shuts down.
[I]Compiled by Pilot writers Bill Bartel, Mike Hixenbaugh and Dianna Cahn.[/I]

I live in Ground Zero for this and it’s going to be bad. The cuts were not designed to make economic sense. They were designed to chop with no mercy.

NOAA is slated to furlough people and reduce staff with hurricane season just a few months away.

MarAd clawed back ship operating budgets and so did MSC. nobody has money to spend. The Navy is quiet. Ships just stacked up at the piers

I suspect the Coast Guard will be adversely affected as well.

Ugly situation!

Some exemptions are, “civilians deployed in a combat zone or civilian mariners deployed onboard ships at sea. CIVMARs who are not otherwise exempt are treated as other civilian employees,” said RADM Buzby in a recent message to the fleet.

Reading between the lines it seems CIVMARs deployed onboard ships not underway are not exempt. I can hear the sea lawyers now: “Mate, this is our only day in port so we gotta be furloughed. Its illegal to load cargo or stand duty so we’re all going ashore!”

The best part is it will be illegal to read or answer work related emails while furloughed. Every cloud has a silver lining!

[QUOTE=DeckApe;101472]Some exemptions are, “civilians deployed in a combat zone or civilian mariners deployed onboard ships at sea. CIVMARs who are not otherwise exempt are treated as other civilian employees,” said RADM Buzby in a recent message to the fleet.

Reading between the lines it seems CIVMARs deployed onboard ships not underway are not exempt. I can hear the sea lawyers now: “Mate, this is our only day in port so we gotta be furloughed. Its illegal to load cargo or stand duty so we’re all going ashore!”

The best part is it will be illegal to read or answer work related emails while furloughed. Every cloud has a silver lining![/QUOTE]

Deployed CIVMARS will be no better off than shoreside ones if the OT takes a tumble. If this happens, they will be worse off. The reimbursable upgrade program is under fire now too.

The guys on the Comfort told me you are all exempt. Hiring is still going on too, for now. I have my app in but still waiting on stcw page two weeks and counting. Wanna bet the NMC is furloughing evaluators? Lol

According to current gossip, deployed CIVMARs will still get paid and fed. Shoreside ones will be sent home on leave with no S&Q (hotel or food money) while getting 80% base pay and involuntarily burning up their leave until the leave runs out and they qualify for unemployment.

I heard that rumor, too, but can’t find a reliable source. Anyone provide one? I don’t doubt it. I wonder about those who already received approval. Does approval count as a contract that must be honored?

Gentlemen. the cuts are all theoretical. They are cuts in PROPOSED spending. Every single dime the government was shelling Friday, they are still shelling out. What the sequestration is all about is that there will be no increases in spending. Don’t get your knickers in a twist. And don’t listen to the lame dream media. Or the government.

[QUOTE=seadog6608;101507]Gentlemen. the cuts are all theoretical. They are cuts in PROPOSED spending. Every single dime the government was shelling Friday, they are still shelling out. What the sequestration is all about is that there will be no increases in spending. Don’t get your knickers in a twist. And don’t listen to the lame dream media. Or the government.[/QUOTE]

I agree that this “we are all going to die” hyperbole is a bit excessive…I mean just look at this number right here

The Navy is being forced to cut $4 billion in six months from its $154 billion annual budget.

Seriously?!? The Navee can’t find a way to reduce its spending by all of a whopping 2.5%? REALLY?

Guess they don’t want to give up that 7$/gallon bio diesel lol.

Given the way the government wastes money, they should have no problem finding places to save 2.5% without any noticeable impact at all.

We spend an incredible amount on defense (some say more than all the other countries in the world combined). I’m all for a very serious and strong defense, the best defense in the world bar none.

However, I do not think that means that we have to police the entire world for FREE, act as bodyguards for corrupt dictators all over the world for FREE, protect South Korea for 60 more years for FREE, protect Europe for another 70 years for FREE, do 95% of NATO’s work for FREE, provide most of the UN’s funding for FREE, and do 90% of the UN’s “peacekeeping” for FREE. We freed the Iraqis from slavery under Saddam for FREE. We freed the Libyans form Gaddafi for FREE. We give Israel over $1 billion a year in military aid for FREE. We give Egypt (who just voted in the Muslim Brotherhood) almost $1 billion a year in FREE military aid. We protect most of OPEC for FREE while they have conspired to stick it to us for 40 years on the price of oil. What in hell does any other country do for us for less than top dollar? They rarely even say thank you, and most often they resent us for trying to help them.

Every other industrialized country in the world has FREE national health care, except us. They can only afford that because we pay for their defense. We cannot have affordable health care because we are paying for the rest of the world’s defense.

How long do we have to be the world’s biggest spendthrift suckers?

We could cut military spending by 50% and still have the very best defense force in the world many times over. This might also force some of our business competitors, our so-called military allies, to start spending some of their own money on their own defense instead of subsidizing their business sectors (like the Norwegian maritime cluster) to unfairly compete against American free enterprise.

I say, let the sequester begin!

It’s beyond proposal. Proposal was in 2011. President signed it into law last Friday. The cuts are real and they are here right now.

I just wish the US government would do better.

Like many here, I have lived and worked overseas for most of my career. I like to amuse myself believing I see what is done elsewhere and what is done in the US with objective eyes.

It is almost as if the priorities are not set in the right places. We had a big election and a lot of this and that was talked about - but what about the priorities of the people? What do people really want, and then, what are they willing to pay for?

It is a bit staggering to think the US spent over $ 18,000 Billion on the DoD since 1982 (US government database - not made up). And what did we get for it as a nation? Sure, a lot of us here on this forum got plenty via government salary or via contract or working in shipyards, etc… But was that the best use of the 18,000 Billion?

I’m pretty patriotic and all that, went to war in '83 and '90, and even worked at NN, but after seeing the rest of the world, I might have to think about what might have been with that 18,000 Billion, just a little harder.

Good luck to all my mates at MSC and in Hampton Roads that work hard and live good lives.

[QUOTE=catherder;101517]It’s beyond proposal. Proposal was in 2011. President signed it into law last Friday. The cuts are real and they are here right now.

Hate to bring this up but, if MSC starts sending mariners home to collect unemployment, then most will be headed to GOM looking for a job.

[QUOTE=“seacomber”][/QUOTE]

That’s where the smart peeps will head.

Its still only theoretical. We don’t have a budget and haven’t had one in about four years due to dimocrat obstruction in the senate.

[QUOTE=seadog6608;101542]Its still only theoretical. We don’t have a budget and haven’t had one in about four years due to dimocrat obstruction in the senate.[/QUOTE]

Uh, no. Not a theory; a fact. People are being furloughed, beginning next Friday. Ships operating budgets are being chopped, deployments have been cancelled- the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman was supposed to deploy, and that deployment has been cancelled. Other deployments are being cancelled. They don’t cancel deployments based on theories and proposals. They do it because the money to pay for them isn’t there.

Shipyards have issued layoff notices. Contractors have issued layoff notices.

My company has big commodities and service contracts with MSC and MarAd. The respective contracting officers informed us that they are now officially broke. Orders are being cancelled or postponed.

I blame ALL of Congress here. Don’t forget who is the majority in the House of Representatives. The GOP. And guess where all budgetary items originate from. The House of Representatives. Write to Speaker Boehner and tell him to sober up and get something done.

[QUOTE=catherder;101544]Write to Speaker Boehner and tell him to sober up and get something done.[/QUOTE]

and make sure to say that you think he spends WAY TOO MUCH TIME on his ridiculous tan as well!

just like this “HOT” babe!

Pentagon to cut commissary time, furlough teachers

The Associated Press
© March 4, 2013
WASHINGTON

The Pentagon says it will be forced to furlough about 15,000 military school teachers and staff around the world because of the automatic budget cuts that took effect last Friday, but the department will manage the process so that the schools don’t lose their accreditation.

Pentagon press secretary George Little says the military will also close all of the commissaries on bases around the world for one extra day each week. They are currently open six days a week.

Commissaries will be closed on Wednesdays, beginning in April.

Teachers will likely have to take a day off each week, since the school day can’t legally be shortened.

Little says the cuts, which run through September, will have an impact on the current school year and the one that will begin in August or September.

The Virginian-Pilot contributed to this story.

[QUOTE=seacomber;101652]Pentagon to cut commissary time, furlough teachers

The Associated Press
© March 4, 2013
WASHINGTON

The Pentagon says it will be forced to furlough about 15,000 military school teachers and staff around the world because of the automatic budget cuts that took effect last Friday, but the department will manage the process so that the schools don’t lose their accreditation.

Pentagon press secretary George Little says the military will also close all of the commissaries on bases around the world for one extra day each week. They are currently open six days a week.

Commissaries will be closed on Wednesdays, beginning in April.

Teachers will likely have to take a day off each week, since the school day can’t legally be shortened.

Little says the cuts, which run through September, will have an impact on the current school year and the one that will begin in August or September.

The Virginian-Pilot contributed to this story.[/QUOTE]

I hope this ploy backfires big time. Of all the absurd wasteful spending, like operation of golf courses, that could be cut, they instead cut school teachers?

The first thing that’s needed is a freeze on promotions for senior officers.

[QUOTE=catherder;101544]Uh, no. Not a theory; a fact. People are being furloughed, beginning next Friday. Ships operating budgets are being chopped, deployments have been cancelled- the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman was supposed to deploy, and that deployment has been cancelled. Other deployments are being cancelled. They don’t cancel deployments based on theories and proposals. They do it because the money to pay for them isn’t there.

Shipyards have issued layoff notices. Contractors have issued layoff notices.

My company has big commodities and service contracts with MSC and MarAd. The respective contracting officers informed us that they are now officially broke. Orders are being cancelled or postponed.

I blame ALL of Congress here. Don’t forget who is the majority in the House of Representatives. The GOP. And guess where all budgetary items originate from. The House of Representatives. Write to Speaker Boehner and tell him to sober up and get something done.[/QUOTE] The house has sent numerous budgets to the do nothing senate and the obstructionist reid has done nothing with them.