At least one federal agency believes it is capable of implementing the automatic spending reductions under sequestration without seriously affecting its employees. NASA administrator Charlie Bolden announced today that the agency does not expect to furlough any employees as a result of the sequester, which is scheduled (and likely) to take effect March 1:
Unlike many other government agencies, including the Department of Defense (DOD), the across-the-board spending cut of 5 percent would not require NASA to furlough workers to make ends meet. “We have safely and efficiently phased out the Space Shuttle Program and managed existing programs to conservative spending levels,” Bolden said in a letter to employees. “This has postured us so that we do not plan to resort to furloughs at this time for NASA employees to meet our spending reductions under sequestration,” he added.
Space Policy Online notes the remarkable difference in how other agencies have responded.
DOD is warning of much greater consequences for its activities and notified Congress last week that it may have to furlough all of its 800,000 civil servants. The Department of Commerce, NOAA’s parent agency, told the Senate Appropriations Committee in a February 8 letter that up to 2,600 NOAA employees would have to be furloughed under the sequester.
If these warnings, and others coming out of the Obama administration, are to be believed, NASA has pulled off an impressive, if not impossible, feat. But on the other hand, are we really to believe it is the only agency capable of doing so?