U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding the Office of Management and Budget's decision to issue guidance on ways agencies can avoid inflicting unnecessary pain on the American people through sequestration.
"I applaud the White House's decision to reverse its opposition to using options like a hiring freeze and travel restrictions to avoid inflicting pain on the American people through their sequestration policy. OMB today reaffirmed the administration's flexibility to make common sense budget choices instead of senseless across-the-board cuts. If the administration would like additional flexibility to avoid harmful consequences I would encourage them to seek that authority from Congress," Dr. Coburn said.
"While some in the administration have previously dismissed these savings as a "drop in a bucket,' the fact is each drop adds up to a torrent of savings," Dr. Coburn added. "I look forward to providing the administration with additional savings options that will allow them to avoid what they see as the harmful consequences of sequestration. In a government that wastes more than $350 billion annually through duplicative and wasteful spending there is no reason why the administration should make budget decisions that increase the chances of a terrorist attack or cause flight delays, layoffs or disruptions of life-saving medical treatmentWhile some in the administration have previously dismissed these savings as a "drop in a bucket,' the fact is each drop adds up to a torrent of savings," Dr. Coburn added. "I look forward to providing the administration with as."
OMB released the following guidance today:
"In determining the appropriate manner to achieve funding reductions, agency heads must also ensure that their agencies have risk management strategies and internal controls in place that provide heightened scrutiny of certain types of activities funded from sequestered accounts. To the extent these accounts remain at the post-sequestration funding level, increased scrutiny should apply to:"
*hiring new personnel;
*issuing discretionary monetary awards to employees, which should occur only if legally required until further notice; and
*incurring obligations for new training, conferences, and travel (including agency-paid travel for non-agency personnel).
"In light of the reduced budgetary resources available due to sequestration, expending funds on these activities at this time would in many circumstances not be the most effective way to protect agency mission to the extent practicable. Therefore, agency leadership should review processes and controls around these activities, and ensure that these activities are conducted only to the extent they are the most cost-effective way to maintain critical agency mission operations under sequestration."