Federal Workers fear unemployment as fiscal cliff looms

US work force fret as fiscal cliff looms

Wed, 26 Dec 2012 11:45:38 GMT

Federal workers in the US are growing skeptical about their employment less than a week before the so-called fiscal cliff of budget cuts and tax hikes are scheduled to go into effect if the Obama administration and members of Congress do not agree on a new fiscal plan.

With the “fiscal cliff” a week away, federal workers “are now growing increasingly alarmed that their jobs and their missions could be on the line,” the US-based Washington Post reports Tuesday.

“US President Barack Obama and members of the US congress left Washington late last week for a Christmas recess without reaching an agreement to avert a USD110 billion in automatic spending cuts that would limit government operations “ranging from weather forecasting and air traffic control to the purchase of spare parts for weapons systems,” the daily reports. ”
“So civil servants are bracing for the blow, wondering whether their work will be terminated – and whether they may be forced to take unpaid days off,” it adds.

According to the report, many federal workers have become weary following a two-year pay freeze and congressional battles over government spending that would keep federal agencies rolling from one substitute budget to another.

Meanwhile, the report reveals that top congressional aides said on Monday that discussions over how to avoid the fiscal cliff “had come to a virtual standstill” and Obama and Republican House Speaker John A. Boehner had not spoken since Friday.

Each side in the negotiations urged the other to come up with a way around the stalemate. A senior Democratic aide said Boehner needs to return from the holiday with a “cleared head and a readiness to deal.”

A senior Senate Republican aide insisted, however, that it is now up to the Senate’s Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and his fellow party members to sort out what they can approve in the Senate without worrying about the Republican-controlled House.

As the year-end deadline approaches, the report adds, federal workers have not been informed very much by their bosses about how their agencies plan to carry out massive spending reductions.

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