There’s a funny thing happening at federal agencies. When it comes to the details of the looming $1.2 trillion cut to their budgets, agency officials find themselves unable to explain just how those cuts would affect myriad programs on the ground. Instead, they have a unified message: talk to the Office of Management and Budget.
From the Agriculture Department to the Pentagon to the Social Security Administration, more than a dozen agencies have given National Journal the same stock response, redirecting reporters to OMB. (The exception was Justin Hamilton at the Education Department, who responded to a query with a link to Carly Simon’s “Anticipation.”)
Not that OMB, which has the task of making sure that President Obama’s vision is implemented throughout federal agencies, is willing to offer any more details. When asked why federal agencies have been told not to discuss sequester details, OMB press officers told NJ to review Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients’s July memo to agencies, telling them to continue normal spending. OMB also pointed to a 394-page report in September that estimates how much federal programs would have to be cut to meet the $1.2 trillion goal.
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