ICYMI: USDA Instructing Organizations Not To “Contradict” Them On Sequester

USDA instructs: ‘Make sure you’re not contradicting’ the impact of sequestration
Jennifer Epstein
March 5, 2013

As the Obama administration tries to make sure its agencies stays on-message about the damaging effects of sequestration, the Agriculture Department’s budget office offered guidance Monday instructing an official to frame cuts in particularly onerous terms.

Charles S. Brown, the eastern regional director of the Animal and Plant Inspection Service, had asked whether there was “any latitude” in how cuts to aquaculture would be distributed across his region. In response, according to an email obtained Tuesday by POLITICO, he was given clear instructions from Agriculture’s Office of Budget and Program Analysis.

“We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs,’” the budget office said. “So, it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.”

Brown said he has until Friday to produce a plan to make $263,000 in cuts to aquaculture — the farming of fish and aquatic plants — in his region.

Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement that the email is evidence that the administration is trying to dramatize the effects of spending cuts. “The Obama administration is doing everything they can to make sure their worst predictions come true and to maximize the pain of the sequester cuts for political gain. Instead of cutting waste, the [administration] is hurting workers. President Obama should stop protecting wasteful government spending.”