As part of last year’s budget negotiations, the threat of sequestering or an automatic 8 percent cut was supposed to bring all parties to the table. There would be a balanced budget and less need for increasing our debt limit.
This cut of $85 billion represents 2.3 percent of the budget. There are just as many good managers in the government as in the private sector. If their superiors would give them the authority and flexibility to manage budgets, they could find savings without having to consider furloughing or laying off employees. Millions of Americans have cut far more out of their family budgets and managed to survive.
If federal civil servants face furloughs, so too should White House employees, members of Congress and their staff. Everyone should be allowed to use yearly earned annual leave against any payless furlough days. Remember they have already gone three years without any salary increase. Payless furlough days are essentially a salary cut.
Both the president and Congress need to work together if we are ever going to put our fiscal house in order and end future threats of both sequesters and furloughs. We need to return to the time when Congress held budget hearings for each department during the summer.
A real balanced budget agency by agency was adopted during an open process. Members of Congress, federal employees, the public, watchdog groups and media were afforded sufficient time to understand the full contents prior to adoption. Full federal budgets were adopted on time prior to the start of any new fiscal year on October 1.
Everyone knows that the thousands of Washington lobbyists representing every conceivable special interest group work behind the scenes hand in hand with the White House and Congress to write their own favored special provisions into every Federal agency funding bill prior to adoption.
Unfortunately, we can’t furlough the thousands of lobbyists who swarm around Washington like bees searching for honey.
President Obama and Congress should be held accountable for their actions, or in this case inaction. Both the President, members of Congress and their respective employees should be docked one full day's pay for each day the upcoming Federal Fiscal Year 2014 budget is not adopted on time.
They need to perform this most basic requirement of their jobs, just like federal civil servants do on a daily basis.
Larry Penner is a resident of Great Neck.