11-18-2017  4:06 am      •     
MLK Breakfast
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NEWS BRIEFS

SEI, Sunshine Division Offer Thanksgiving Meals to Families in Need

Turkeys are being provided to fill 200 Thanksgiving food boxes for SEI families ...

NAACP Portland Monthly Meeting Nov. 18

Monthly general membership meeting takes place on Saturday, 12 - 2 p.m. ...

Multnomah County Animal Services Waives Adoption Fees Nov. 17

Special runs from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday ...

Fitzpatrick Presents 'Pathway 1000' Plan Before City Council

Plan would restore involuntary displacement by building 80 homes per year ...

Sisters Network to Hold Monthly Meeting Nov. 11

Meeting to take place Saturday morning at June Key Delta Center ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Local Author Visits North Portland Library

Renee Watson teaches students and educators about the power of writing ...

Is the FBI’s New Focus on “Black Identity Extremists” the New COINTELPRO?

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.) talks about the FBI’s misguided report on “Black Identity Extremism” and negative Facebook ads. ...

ACA Enrollment Surging, Even Though It Ends Dec. 15

NNPA contributing writer Cash Michaels writes about enrollment efforts ...

Blacks Often Pay Higher Fees for Car Purchases than Whites

Charlene Crowell explains why Black consumers often pay higher fees than White consumers, because of “add-on” products. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

By Jennifer Liberto

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) -- Federal workers could start facing furloughs as early as April, according to federal agencies trying to prepare for the worst.


Unless Congress steps in, some $85 billion in massive spending reductions will hit the federal government, doling out furloughs to much of the nation's 2.1 million federal workforce, experts say.

The cuts coming as a part of the "sequester" will end up carving some 9 percent from non-defense programs and 13 percent from defense programs, because the cuts take place over seven months instead of 12. They're part of a larger effort to trim $1.2 trillion from federal deficits over ten years.

Daniel Werfel, a controller for the Office of Management and Budget, told a Senate panel Thursday that furloughs won't happen until after agencies negotiate with unions, and that's not expected to be finished until after March 1.

After union bargaining, the agencies still need to give employees their official 30 days notice of impending furloughs, realistically pushing most furloughs off until April at the earliest.

While they can't stop the furloughs, unions have the final say on how the furloughs will be implemented, said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. She said they get to bargain with federal agencies on issues such as how the furloughed days will be spread out.

The unions will also work with agencies to ensure that things such as performance reviews don't reflect work left incomplete due to furloughs.

"We believe that one furlough day is one too many for employees," said Kelley, whose group is among those pushing Congress to come up with an alternative to federal budget cuts.

Neither the treasury union nor National Federation of Federal Employees have been approached to officially begin the bargaining process over furloughs, both confirmed.

At Thursday's hearing, Werfel said agencies might not be able to avoid furloughs that would reduce essential services. At the Agriculture Department, for example, it's not possible to avoid furloughs that would result in fewer food inspections, because most of the agency's expenses are the salaries and benefits of people who perform those tasks.

"So it becomes a math issue, ultimately," he said. "This is one of the very tangible and clear and significant impacts of sequester: This division within USDA will not be able to make its core mission of sending the inspectors to these locations."

The exact number of total furloughs planned is still unavailable, since agencies are still deciding how to spread the cuts. It's possible some agencies may yet be able to spare some employees from furloughs or at least minimize days of unpaid leave.

Generally, workers would keep benefits such as health insurance, according to recent guidance from the Office of Personnel Management. But some workers may have to give up more from their paychecks when they return to work after a furlough, if their salary for the pay period wasn't enough to cover health insurance premiums.

The sequester -- a series of blunt, automatic funding cuts across much of the federal budget set to begin March 1 -- was never supposed to go into effect. Instead, the threat that it might was supposed to spur lawmakers to find a smarter way to reduce deficits over the next decade.

The only group that could escape furloughs are some 1,500 presidential appointees, including Cabinet positions, deputy secretaries and assistant secretaries. That's because those jobs are considered 24-hour-a-day positions, said Max Stier, president and CEO of Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit that advocates for a more efficient federal workforce.

Most of those workers are at the top of the federal pay scale, Stier said.

"It's just craziness," he said. "You're telling the vast bulk of federal employees 'Guess what, you don't know how much money you're going to make.' And in all likelihood, these hard-working people will have to do the same amount of work."

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

 

Carpentry Professionals
Calendar

MLK breakfast 2018 300x100

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events