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Tag: Furlough

Homeland Security Chief Warns of 30,000 Furloughs If Congress Doesn’t Reach Funding Pact

Jeh Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If Congress fails to reach a funding agreement by the end of February, Homeland Security will furlough at least 30,000 workers in what could have far-reaching ramifications, the department’s head, Jeh Johnson, said.

The Huffington Post reports that Johnson is stepping up his rhetoric in the face of a potential DHS shutdown.

“This is not a situation to make light of,” Johnson told CNN. “In these challenging times we need a fully funded Department of Homeland Security.”

Johnson said FEMA would furlough about 80% of its employees.

“I am on Capitol Hill now virtually every working day talking to Democrats and Republicans about the importance of a fully funded Department of Homeland Security in these times in particular,” said Johnson. “Let’s not forget that the Department of Homeland Security interfaces with the American public more than any other department in our government at airports and at ports.”

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Agents Association Throws Weight Behind Bipartisan Spending Plan

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hoping to avoid further cutbacks, the FBI Agents Association is showing its support for a bipartisan spending plan that would avoid more than $700 million in additional sequestration reductions, NPR reports.

The plan, while not ideal for the cash-strapped agency, was announced Tuesday by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.

Agents are hoping to avoid furloughs that reduce law enforcement efforts, such as combating terrorism and corruption.

“The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 would help alleviate some of these budgetary pressures by lifting the threat of over $700 million in additional sequestration cuts and providing appropriators with additional funds that can be used to support the vital work of FBI Special Agents,” FBI Agents Association President Reynaldo Tariche writes in a letter obtained by NPR.

Letter to the Editor: Crisis at the FBI

This letter was sent to a number of news outlets.

Ellen Glasser

By Ellen Glasser
President, Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI

As individuals, we regularly examine our priorities to make decisions as we manage our checkbooks. As citizens, we expect our elected leaders to do the same with our government checkbook. The effects of sequestration are dramatic and far reaching across all sectors of government. Some are inconsequential, some are cause for concern, and a few are downright dangerous. The drastic budgetary cuts that face the FBI pose a clear and present danger to national security and to the citizens of the United States. If these cuts remain in place it will not be a question of if, but rather when disaster will occur.

Since September 11, 2001, the FBI has been at the forefront of protecting us from terrorist attacks including the interdiction of plots to bomb the New York Federal Reserve Bank; a Portland, Oregon public park; a Cleveland, Ohio bridge; a Bronx, New York, Jewish Community Center; the U.S. Capitol building; the Chicago Sears Tower; the Ft. Dix, New Jersey, military base; jet fuel tanks at New York’s Kennedy airport and scores of other critical targets. At the same time, the FBI has continued to address its other responsibilities including detecting espionage; investigating public corruption; protecting us from cyber-attacks; addressing civil-rights violations; and investigating major criminal matters.

FBI Director James B. Comey recently assumed office with the promise of a continued, vigorous commitment to the bureau’s responsibilities. But how can he fulfill that promise with one hand tied behind his back? Sequestration has cut $700 million from the FBI budget necessitating the furlough of 36,000 employees; reducing the FBI’s workforce by 3,500; imposing a hiring freeze until at least 2015; cancelling inter-agency, law enforcement training; eliminating on-board employee training; and imposing countless other restrictions which impede and degrade the FBI’s ability to address its responsibilities.

Although the general public may not yet fully appreciate the danger it faces from FBI budget cuts, law enforcement professionals do. Police leaders attending a recent International Chiefs of Police Conference emphatically deplored the budgetary problems confronting the FBI as, “A body blow to law enforcement.”

Do something for your country and those you care about. Now is the time to tell your elected representatives to reexamine their priorities and restore funding to the FBI. Tell them we are not content to wait until the next disaster occurs.

 

 

AG Eric Holder Sends Message to Justice Department Employees About Shutdown

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

Dear Colleagues,

This ongoing shutdown continues to be a very frustrating time for all of us who work for the Department of Justice and those who provide services on contract. I remain particularly concerned about the impact the shutdown continues to have on all of you and your families. Unfortunately, because we are unable to predict when it will be resolved, we are not able to allay all of your justifiable concerns.

In an effort to answer as many questions as possible, we have updated material under the “Information for Employees” section of the Department’s homepage. There you will find information about pay, ethics issues, employee assistance programs, unemployment compensation, and the Department’s contingency plans.

I also want to reiterate how important each and every one of you is to the Department of Justice’s mission. To those of you who are excepted from furlough, thank you for continuing to work through this difficult period, even though most of you are doing so on an “IOU” basis. To those of you who are furloughed, I wish you were on the job furthering the mission of this great institution, instead of wondering when you will be able to return to work and if and when you will be paid. Please understand that I believe every Department employee, whether excepted or furloughed, is essential to ensure that justice is served on behalf of the American people.

As we await a resolution of this shutdown, we will continue to provide information to you as quickly as possible. Please continue to check the Department homepage to receive the most up-to-date information for employees.

Thank you for your service to the American people. I look forward to see you all back on the job again soon.

Sincerely,

Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Amber Alert Website Restored After Outrage Expressed Over Shutdown

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The federal government’s Amber Alert website was restored Monday morning after people expressed outrage.

The site, www.AmberAlert.gov, was temporarily taken offline because of the government shutdown.

“The Amber Alert system was never interrupted, but to eliminate any confusion, the informational site maintained by the Justice Department has been restored,” Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon told CNN.

While the website was taken down, the Amber Alert system was still functioning, Justice Department officials said. They said Amber Alerts were still issued, and the system was not impacted.

Keeping the website up requires bringing in furloughed employees, Fallon said.

“It’s a cyber-security risk for sites to be posted but not maintained or supervised,” Fallon said.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI to Take Off 10 Weekdays a Year to Combat Budget Cuts

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Tough times mean desperate measures for the FBI.

To absorb budget reductions, the FBI plans to close its headquarters and offices nationwide for about 10 weekdays over the next year, The New York Times reports.

On the furlough days, the FBI will maintain a small crew with the ability to call back agents in the event of a terrorist attack or some other serious crime, the Times wrote.

The FBI spends $16 million a day to pay employees.

Rep. Barber Urges House Leaders To Make Certain Sequestration Doesn’t Result in Reduction In Border Patrol Agents’ Pay

Rep. Barber

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Ron Barber, D-Tucson, is urging House leaders to make sure budget cuts within the Department of Homeland Security don’t impact Border Patrol staffing levels or pay of its agents, according to a press release issued by his office.

“Every dollar spent on lower-priority items means one less dollar spent to secure our borders,” Barber, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, wrote top House appropriators. “That would negatively impact our agents, their families and the safety of my constituents and all Americans.”

Barber urged the House leaders to make efforts to ensure that overtime pay for agents is not cut.

“Cuts to agents’ overtime hours will leave Border Patrol stations understaffed and forward operating bases unmanned,” Barber wrote. “This creates windows of opportunity for criminals to cross our borders. It also results in an undue burden and heavy impact on Border Patrol families because it represents a substantial reduction in hours and take-home pay.”  Budget cuts are mandated by the sequestration.

Barber’s plea comes as  the House Appropriations Committee looks at a Homeland Security proposal that would prevent Border Patrol agents from geting furlough days, but might still result in a reductions in overtime.

Border Patrol agents would avoid furlough days under a Homeland Security proposal that would cut overtime pay instead, the Cronkite New Service reports.

To Read Rep. Barber’s press release click here.

 

Furloughs? Overtime cuts? Border Patrol Agents Still Don’t Know What’s Looming

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents are in the dark about a lot of things these days.

With the fiscal year halfway through, agents still don’t know whether they will have furlough days or overtime reductions, the Arizona Daily Star reports.

A plan submitted by Customs and Border Protection to Congress seeks to eliminate the need for furloughs.

“However, other effects of sequestration will remain and will continue to have serious impacts on CBP’s operations, including nearly $600 million in cuts,” Jenny Burke, CBP spokeswoman, wrote in an email statement to the Star.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST