Sequestration causes rare March blizzard?

If you live in the mid-Atlantic region, today may be the start of something big — as in the Mother of All (recent) March snowstorms. We haven’t had a big one for several years, when we got hammered with 33 inches, shutting down most of the government a couple of years back. The media dubbed that one “snowmegaddon.” Many of us still swap war stories about how we survived!

Sales of white bread, milk and toilet paper peak in the Washington area when we are threatened by snow or ice storms. No one is quite sure why those three items are key to our survival kits. A friend from Buffalo says their emergency supplies are beer and birth-control. In any case, there was a big run on stores yesterday. If the forecast holds true, the rush to get survival gear should peak today.

In the D.C. area, with the most congested traffic in the nation, we’ve been lucky. So far. Although we had some miserable cold, high-humidity days in February, the snow has mostly fallen north and west of us. Good for the ski resorts, bad for local car-body repair shops.

Weather Note: (I once picked up a Canadian newspaperman who lived and worked in Ottawa. As in way up North in Canada where it gets really cold. It was February and I met him at Washington National Airport. He almost froze to death getting from the terminal to my car. Not the cold, but our humidity got him. He said he would love to come back someday. In August.)


Until we got the weather alert, most of the talk here inside the Beltway has been about sequestration: Would it happen? What would it mean? Would it mess up everything, or start us on the road of getting out of debt? Who thought up and proposed sequestration ( Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and the White House are disputing this one). Where did the term “sequestration” come from? Who will get the blame? The Democrats or Republicans. A recent CBS poll said that 38 percent of the people contacted blamed the Republicans and 33 percent said the Democrats did it.

Given our obsession with sequestration, the blame game and what comes next, we are happy to pass on a suggestion received Monday. It is from a long-time Washington observer who is well known in the federal labor community. He suggests the coming blizzard, if it arrives, should be known as SNOWQUESTRATION. It’s the kind of thing headline writers and political types alike would like.

Furloughs and your boss

Top-ranking career feds, members of the SES and other managers, have some tough decisions to make. How to develop and implement sequestration/furlough plans, while protecting their employees.

How is that going to work and how is it going? Today at 10 a.m. on our Your Turn radio show, we’ll talk with Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association for some insights.

Later in the show, we will get the latest furlough update from Federal Times senior writer Stephen Losey. He’ll also talk the prospects for a federal pay raise/freeze, and a potential government-wide shutdown coming up in late March.


Compiled by Jack Moore

Jersey Hill near Ithaca, N.Y. is the Bermuda Triangle for homing pigeons. The birds, normally renowned for their navigation abilities, become disoriented and fly aimlessly in upstate New York. Researchers say it’s because atmosphere changes wreak havoc on the pigeons’ ability to use infrasound, a low-frequency sound below the range of human hearing that the birds use to navigate.

(Source: BBC)


House budget plan includes fed pay freeze extension
House Republicans unveiled a stopgap government funding measure Monday. The measure would extend the federal pay freeze and leave in place automatic sequestration cuts. It would award the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments their detailed 2013 budgets, while other agencies would be frozen at 2012 levels – – and then bear the across-the-board cuts. The current continuing resolution expires March 27.

New OMB report offers vague details on sequestration cuts
In a March 1 report to Congress, accompanying President Barack Obama’s signing of the official sequestration order, the Office of Management and Budget provided an updated breakdown of how the cuts would be applied. However, as with the Sequestration Transparency Report, which the White House released in September and which was the first detailed account of how sequestration would play out, the latest report details reductions only down to the budget account level – not to the more granular program, project and activity level.

Federal News Match Game 1500
What do get when you mix the wonky policy minutiae of the federal government with zany 1970s game-show antics? Federal News Radio Match Game 1500!