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Tag: Sequestration

FBI Director Comey Makes Terrorism, Sequestration His Top Priorities in 2014

 

James Comey

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

FBI Director James Comey said the agency’s priorities this year are combating terrorism and dealing with deep budget cuts, ABC 33/40 reports.

“One of the first challenges I’ve faced as FBI director was the impact of budget sequestration on the bureau,” Comey said during a visit to Birmingham.

Budget cuts have left the FBI with fewer resources and agents.

“The first promise that we have made to the American people is that we will do everything in our power to keep the American people safe from terrorist attacks. That’s our number one priority,” said Comey.

Comey said those efforts may be compromised by deeper cuts and said he and Congress must work on a compromise.

“I’m optimistic we are on the cusp of a budget agreement that will allow the FBI to start hiring again and avoid the devastating furloughs we were facing,” Comey said.

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.

FBI Agents Association: Looming Cuts Will Make It More Difficult to Fight Crime, Terrorism

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Budget cuts are going to have a big impact on the FBI’s ability to fight crime and terrorism, according to a group that represents 12,000 active and former special agents, Govexec.com reports.

The FBI Agents Association warned at a press conference Wednesday of the effects of looming furloughs, an ongoing hiring freeze and cuts in training.

The group, for example, said the sequestration is likely to force agents to take between 10 and 15 days of furloughs.

“Terrorists don’t get furloughed,” Tariche said. “Cyber hackers don’t get furloughed. Gang leaders are not furloughed and it’s not an acceptable thing to furlough active FBI agents because of the risks posed from both terrorist and criminal threats.”

New FBI Director Comey Is Battling More Than Crime in First Weeks in Office

FBI photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just two weeks into his job at the helm of the FBI, James B. Comey is combating more than global terrorism, government corruption and organized crime.

The budget sequester is forcing the bureau to reduce its $8.1 billion budget by $800 million, adding to the list of pressures on the FBI, the Washington Post reports.

Comey said he was briefed on the sequester before taking the job, but told the Post that he “was very surprised to learn how severe the potential cut is.”

The deficit could continue for a decade, forcing across-the-board cuts of 8.2%, according to the Post.

CBP Employees Dodge Furloughs with Congressional Approval

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border workers won’t be forced to take furloughs this year as originally feared, Government Executive reports.

CBP employees, who initially faced 14 furlough days in fiscal 2013, dodged the forced days off through appropriations approved by Congress.

It was good news for the more than 20,000 CBP workers who feared a cut in pay.

But union leaders cautioned against early celebrations.

“Sequestration, which is the underpinning for all manner of problems for federal agencies, is scheduled to continue until 2021,” Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement. “And even with the decision not to furlough employees, CBP remains particularly hard-hit by the sequester.”

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

Sequestration Forces Border Patrol to Conserve Gas, Reduce Vehicles on Patrol

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The sequestration is taking a toll on Border Patrol protection as agents begin rationing fuel and use fewer cars for patrol, KHOU.com reports.

“We’ll have the same number of agents — just fewer vehicles,” said Rob Russell of the National Border Patrol Council.

Russell, who works with the local El Paso area union, said two agents, instead of one, often are occupying a vehicle to conserve gas.

“This is one of the first times we’ve seen it this severe where they’re going to start doubling up agents. We’ve never had to do this,” said Russell, who has been with the Border Patrol for 15 years.

Agents also are being asked to shut off their vehicles while doing surveillance.