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Federal Criminal Prosecutors Receive Furlough Notices as Sequester Begins

Mar 1, 2013
Press Release
Cummings: “This is no longer an abstract concept …sequestration is real, it’s here, and it’s incredibly damaging"

Washington, DC —Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released the first copies of furlough notices issued as a result of damaging across-the-board spending cuts imposed by “sequestration.”  Cummings obtained furlough notices sent to criminal prosecutors across the country in United States Attorney Offices who are charged with prosecuting and convicting domestic criminals and international terrorists.

“This is no longer an abstract concept—these documents show for the first time in concrete terms that sequestration is real, it’s here, and it’s incredibly damaging,” said Cummings. “With every passing day, more and more letters like these will be sent to hundreds of thousands of federal workers, and Americans across the country soon will begin experiencing firsthand the deterioration of critical services they rely on every single day.” 

The furlough notices obtained by Cummings state that federal prosecutors must be furloughed because Congress “failed to take alternative measures” to avoid sequestration. 

They also state:  “When you are on furlough, you will be in a nonpay, nonduty status.  Also, during the furlough, you will not be permitted to serve as an unpaid volunteer and must remain away from your workplace.”

The notices conclude:  “We recognize the difficult personal financial implications of any furlough, no matter how limited in length.  We will make every effort to keep you informed as additional information regarding agency funding becomes available.”

Federal prosecutors working for the 93 U.S. Attorney Offices across the United States are responsible for some of the most high-profile criminal and terrorist prosecutions in the world.  They also handle a wide range of multi-billion dollar civil litigation on behalf of federal government agencies.

Sequestration cuts that go into effect today will also cause delays in processing Social Security retirement claims, force tens of thousands of children out of the Head Start program, and impact airlines, aviation manufacturers, air traffic controllers, and individual pilots who need FAA safety approvals. 

Although House Democrats offered a balanced alternative to sequestration that combines targeted spending cuts with additional revenues raised by closing tax loopholes for the nation’s richest individuals and corporations, House Republicans refused to allow a vote and instead expressed their support for the damaging cuts imposed by sequestration.

For a visual representation of the notice, please see @OversightDems on Twitter.

113th Congress