Sequester

(via Flickr/KurtClark)

About 5,100 civilian workers at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois are being forced to take-off 11 unpaid days, as are civilian employees at military installations throughout the Department of Defense.  The furloughs begin July 8 and are a result of the automatic federal spending cuts known as sequestration.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

The so-called sequester is going to take some military pomp out of summer events across the country.

Budget cuts have forced the Golden Knights, the Army’s signature parachute team, to cancel several of its performances.

The same goes for the The Navy’s Blue Angels.

Military bands aren’t immune from the cuts, either; travel restrictions have forced them to cancel shows from coast to coast.

But in a twist, we’re going to be seeing the local Air Force band a whole lot more than we normally would.  

Working on local relationships

(via Flickr/Bill Ward's Brickpile)

The Transportation Departments says 149 control towers at small airports that were slated for closure will remain - open at least through Sept. 30.

The department sent out a brief statement Friday. It says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has determined there is enough extra money, under a bill passed by Congress last month, to keep the towers open through the end of the budget year.

Blunt, McCaskill At Odds Over Background Check Bill

Apr 10, 2013
Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

Missouri’s U.S. Senators are divided on a bill that would expand background checks to more gun buyers. Republican Blunt has indicated that he does not support the bill, while Democrat Claire McCaskill says she will.

On a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, McCaskill said Congress needs to do something to try to prevent mass shootings.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Sequestration is a draconian action designed to force federal budget cutting in the absence of agreement between the Congress and the president. Excepting the major entitlements, Social Security and Medicare, the sequester process takes 10 percent from the budgets of all departments, including defense.

These cuts, which began March 1, have been decried in many circles. Small airports are losing air traffic control; veterans will lose their student benefits. And that is only the beginning of the list.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Federal prison guard Donny Boyte was sitting in the lobby of the DoubleTree hotel at Westport Plaza Thursday morning talking about the dangers that he believed sequestration posed for employees of the Bureau of Prisons.

Boyte, 44, voiced serious concerns over unpaid furloughs that he felt would compromise the safety of the 125 guards he works with at the federal penitentiary in El Reno, Okla. The prison houses 1,200 inmates, including murderers, rapists, drug traffickers and members of notorious crime gangs from all over the world.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., has sought to put the blame on President Barack Obama for the crucial federal employees and services – including air traffic control towers – that have taken the hit during the implementation of the across-the-board budget cuts known as the “sequester.”

That said, Blunt indicated that he continued to support the overall concept of the sequester, in effect since March 1.

(via Flickr/Bill Ward's Brickpile)

The Federal Aviation Administration has announced a list of 149 contracted control towers slated for closure due to the Administration's "sequestration implementation plan."

In the Missouri and Illinois, those towers include:

Missouri

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., says he’s strongly in favor of the federal government living within its means. But that doesn’t mean, he adds, that the United States should put its national security at risk.

That’s what Talent fears is happening as a result of the latest round of defense cuts mandated by the “sequester” – mandated across-the-board budget cuts for the next 10 years that went into place a few weeks ago as a result of Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and President Barack Obama, failing to agree on an alternate deficit-cutting plan.

(via Wikimedia commons/SSGT CHAD R. GANN, USAF)

Thousands of civilian workers at Scott Air Force Base in southern Illinois will soon begin receiving furlough  notices.
 
The Belleville News Democrat reports workers will be informed that they must take one day per week of unpaid vacation between next month and September because of mandatory federal budget cuts referred to as the "sequester."
 
The newspaper says the workers will receive the 30-day notices in the mail by the end of the week.
 

(via Flickr/j.o.h.n. walker)

Members of the military enrolled at two St. Louis-area universities will continue to get a break on their tuition, despite the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester.

Four of the five branches of the military suspended future grants earlier this month to meet the sequester requirements - but Lindenwood and Webster universities say they'll use their own resources to replace the federal tuition assistance program. 

Here are a few fast facts about what's involved:

(Senator McCaskill's Flickr Account)

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri says she will take a cut in pay as a show of solidarity with those federal workers who face furloughs due to the sequester.

McCaskill and Senator Bill Nelson of Florida have proposed a bill that would reduce congressional salaries once the furloughs begin. McCaskill says she wants to hold lawmakers accountable for not coming up with an alternative to the sequester as a means of cutting federal spending.

(via Flickr/The National Guard/M. Queiser/Missouri National Guard)

Members of the Missouri House Budget Committee are proposing a new fund to provide tuition assistance for National Guard members who are also enrolled in college.

The move comes because the federal government has suspended federal tuition assistance for National Guard soldiers due to sequestration cuts.  House Budget Chair Rick Stream (R, Kirkwood) says they’ve reallocated $1.5 million in next year’s state budget to make up the difference.

The Sequester Is Here To Stay, Blunt Says

Mar 14, 2013
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Gage Skidmore | Flickr

The sequester’s across-the-board cuts to both entitlements and defense went into effect at the beginning of the month, and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) says it's here to stay, at least for now.

The sequester was never meant to be a permanent change, just a threat so Congress would compromise on a plan. But Blunt wants to give the President more authority in deciding what is cut.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The sequestration of federal government expenditures is in place. Just how will the mandatory cuts in federal government spending impact the economy? To answer that, consider several pertinent facts.

The sequestration will reduce federal government expenditures by a total of $85 billion, which is split between defense and other government agencies (some programs, like Medicare, remain untouchable). The cuts are not immediate and will take time to be implemented. This phase-in lessens any immediate effects on the economy.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The email arrived unsolicited. A friend forwarded it to my inbox after he’d received it from a mutual acquaintance. Nobody seems to know who wrote the thing originally. Attribution is apparently not a high priority among internet theorists.

Like so many of the factoids circulating through cyberspace, the text was intended to be read in cursory fashion and then shared with others as revealed truth. This particular missive sought to compare the nation’s financial situation to a family budget. It concluded — wrongly — that pending federal cuts equated to a $38.50 reduction in spending for a household making $21,700 a year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of the moderates whom President Barack Obama called last week to discuss budget issues, said Tuesday that the $85 billion in sequester cuts is likely to stay but might be re-targeted.

“I think it’s doubtful that we will change the $85 billion in cuts,” McCaskill told reporters. “I still think it’s possible that we will change the impact of those cuts so . . .  it makes more sense where and how we are cutting.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Dear Beaconites --

If you live in Kirkwood, as I do, or Edwardsville or St. Charles -- or any other part of our far-flung region outside the city -- you might think the St. Louis mayor's race is not worth your attention. If you work for anyone but the federal government, you might think sequestration is just an inside-the-beltway brouhaha.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: St. Louis area residents may not know the meaning of sequestration, but they may soon feel its impact through a loss of federal dollars for programs ranging from home-delivered meals for the elderly to vital research at area universities and other institutions.

Those are among the potential consequences of sequestration, Washington jargon for across-the-board budget cuts, beginning tomorrow, unless Congress and the White House find an alternative to the indiscriminate spending reductions now mandated under federal law.

St. Louis Defense Industry Braces For Sequester

Mar 1, 2013
(via Wikimedia commons/SSGT CHAD R. GANN, USAF)

Earlier this week the Obama Admiration released a state-by-state breakdown of the $85 billion in cuts slated to kick in on Friday.

The report details cuts to expenditures ranging from teachers and schools, to air-traffic control, to public health and head start.  Among the line-items slated for the largest cuts is military readiness and defense, or more specifically by civilians working for the Department of Defense. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis: WASHINGTON – The day before the sequester budget axe was due to fall, there was plenty of posturing on Capitol Hill but apparently precious little progress on reaching a deal to avert the across-the-board cuts.

While U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the Senate would consider today a Democratic bill that aims to replace the sequester with a “balanced approach” including some revenues, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said GOP senators would block that plan. A separate Republican proposal also will be offered.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – Hardly anyone really wants it to happen. Absolutely no one wants to take the blame for it. And there are plenty of options to avoid it.

But sequestration – the slasher spending provision inserted into a deficit-reduction law to scare Congress into agreeing on a more rational approach – is about to strike on Friday.

Sequester Cuts Threaten Civilian Employees At Scott AFB

Feb 25, 2013
Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois’ elected officials are warning that looming sequester budget cuts would have significant impacts on Scott Air Force Base.

Located in Mascoutah, IL, in the Metro East, Scott Air Force Base about 13,000 military and civilian personnel, making it one of the largest employers in the St. Louis region.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts set to kick in on Friday would affect about 4500 civilian employees at Scott and would cause significant harm to the readiness of our military.