The White House warned on Friday that hundreds of thousands of furloughs could be necessary if the automatic cuts kicks in beginning on March 1. [...]Of course, that would leave agencies badly understaffed and struggling to carry out their missions—which, in cases like the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would make Republicans deliriously happy. You might almost say that's one of the hidden agendas of such proposals.
Two Republican lawmakers, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Rep. Howard McKeon (R-Calif.), have proposed legislation that would replace the sequester with a 10 percent trimming of the federal workforce, achieved by limiting agencies to one hire for every three employees that leave.
It's not like federal workers have thus far avoided cuts:
Labor groups claim federal workers have already sacrificed $103 billion toward deficit reduction in the form of pay freezes and reduced retirement benefits for future hires.And federal employment is not at anything like an all-time high, either in raw numbers or as a percentage of the population. But since Republicans aren't interested in facts or context or proportion, these workers and the services they provide are once again bargaining chips.