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Holder Says FBI Agents, Prosecutors Would Be Furloughed With Sequestration

posted 30 Sep 2013, 11:26 by Mpelembe   [ updated 30 Sep 2013, 11:26 ]

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department is preparing for furloughs that would be necessary if sequestration budget cuts are enacted.

WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 30, 2013) (RESTRICTED POOL) -  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Monday (September 30) the Justice Department was preparing for furloughs that would be necessary if sequestration budget cuts are enacted.

"Unless something is done to relieve us of the burden of sequestration, I can say that FBI agents, prosecutors will be--, will be furloughed. Now, what the number of days will be, we're still in the process of working that through, but sequestration at the level that we had to deal with in the past fiscal year will necessarily result in furloughs," Holder said during a news briefing at the Justice Department.

His remarks coincided with an impending partial shutdown of the U.S. governmentas Republicans and Democrats remain at a standstill over government funding for the next fiscal year.

The sequester was the product of an August 2011 face-off between Democrats and Republicans, who were demanding big cuts as a condition of raising the government's borrowing power, also known as the debt ceiling.

When the parties and U.S. President Barack Obama deadlocked, they came up with the sequester, but put off the effective date of the cuts to give Congress an incentive to replace them with more thoughtful, targeted reductions.

The idea was that if Congress could not agree on $1.2 trillion in budget savings, the across-the-board cuts would be so painful as to force action.

Congress tried to agree on a substitute but failed, and the first cuts took effect in March.

Workers at government agencies and Defense Department contractors have been forced to take several unpaid days off in recent months. Some national park campgrounds were closed and grant money for medical and scientific research has been cut.

Many Republican conservatives view sequester as the new normal and it is baked into their current negotiating positions on the debt limit and next year's budget.