April 1st Is the New February 28th
The sequester cuts are officially in place but the sky hasn’t fallen. It is unlikely that you even noticed the cuts yet, because while the sequester went into effect last week the impact won’t really begin to be felt until next month.
The big aspects of the sequester don’t really start until April 1st ,at the earliest. Most agencies won’t start to furlough their employees until then. Agencies are normally required to give 30 days notices before furloughing workers, those notices should be going out around now.
In addition, the 2 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements rates doesn’t take effect until April 1st. That is when doctors and hospitals will start seeing slightly smaller payments from the government.
We will need to basically wait another month before the real “pain” of the sequester starts being felt by a significant number of Americans. This is probably part of the reason there seemed to be so little urgency among members of Congress to reach a deal before the official sequester deadline.
The current continuing resolution also ends March 27th, right around the time the sequester cuts will start to be felt. That is the actual deadline that needs to be dealt with or it will have an immediate impact in the form of a government shutdown. This creates a real opportunity. There is a decent chance that any solution to the sequester will simply be folded into a new omnibus bill to keep the government funded.
Photo by Jacqueline Poggi released under Creative Commons License