U.S. Representative K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) issued the following statement regarding a U.S. Agriculture Department email instructing a manager not to contradict "what we said the impact would be" of the sequester:
"I call on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to immediately and strongly denounce recent comments from an anonymous USDA official made public today calling on managers not to contradict the administration's publicized impact of the sequester. That position, if not retracted, means Secretary Vilsack -- and the Obama administration -- would rather see employees be laid off and families go without paychecks than to be proven wrong on their scare-tactic talking points. The idea that the administration is purposely making minimal decreases in funding as painful as possible on the American public purely for political gain is unfathomable.
"People's jobs and livelihoods should not be toyed with for political gain. Period.
"I am frustrated that Obama administration is increasingly turning the USDA and other federal agencies into messaging arms of the White House press briefing room. Further, I am appalled at the willingness of these officials to misrepresent what a minimal reduction in spending will do to agency operations, employees and Americans as a whole. Some agencies have adequately prepared for the sequester and will be able to successfully avoid furloughs. I urge Secretary Vilsack to condemn this position in the strongest terms possible and reassure the American people that agencies are being operated in the public -- not political -- interest