Update #2 10pm PST 10/2/13 : Our friends over at the Sunlight Foundation have an interesting post, "What Happens to .gov in a Shutdown?" They explained the .gov shutdown matrix:
...drawn on an agency-by-agency basis, and the specific determination is based on the importance of the function and how illegal ceasing to do it might be. But aside from some obvious ones--national parks would be closed; the CO2 scrubber on the International Space Station would stay plugged in--it'll be agency leadership that makes the determinations.
(and love the unix joke!)
UPDATE #1 3pm PST 10/2/13: Arstechnica, checked 56 .gov sites and found 10 that went dark. See "Shutdown of US government websites appears bafflingly arbitrary."
A bunch of federal websites will shut down with the government, By Andrea Peterson, Washington Post, Published: September 30 at 5:28 pm.
Rachel Maddow had some examples of how the sequester -- or as she so elegantly put it, the "nearly universally agreed-upon to be stupid self-inflicted problem we made for ourselves in Washington" -- has negatively effected the US, with last friday being a mandatory furlough day for 115,000 federal employees. Maddow pointed out that this was the "largest govt shutdown since the '90s."
Oh come on! ProPublica has a story out today "As Need for New Flood Maps Rises, Congress and Obama Cut Funding". This shows the absolute -- not to mention dangerous -- idiocy of our Federal legislators' feverish obsession with cutting the US budget. People, please, the US budget deficit is under control and shrinking faster than the CBO originally estimated. Meanwhile, our public infrastructure is crumbling before our eyes -- another bridge collapsed a few days ago, this time in WA -- and our emergency preparedness is in dire need of being updated. This is not the time for austerity (see Krugman, "How the Case for Austerity Has Crumbled.").
The maps, drawn by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, dictate the monthly premiums millions of American households pay for flood insurance. They are also designed to give homeowners and buyers the latest understanding of how likely their communities are to flood.
The government’s response to the rising need for accurate maps? It’s slashed funding for them.
Congress has cut funding for updating flood maps by more than half since 2010, from $221 million down to $100 million this year. And the president’s latest budget request would slash funding for mapping even further to $84 million — a drop of 62 percent over the last four years.
In a little-noticed written response to questions from a congressional hearing, FEMA estimated the cuts would delay its map program by three to five years. The program “will continue to make progress, but more homeowners will rely on flood hazard maps that are not current,” FEMA wrote.
The cuts have slowed efforts to update flood maps across the country.
In New England, for instance, FEMA is updating coastal maps but has put off updating many flood maps along the region’s rivers, said Kerry Bogdan, a senior engineer with FEMA’s floodplain mapping program in Boston.
“Unfortunately, without the money to do it, we’re limited and our hands are kind of tied,” she said.
Many of the flood maps in Vermont — including areas near Lake Champlain that have recently flooded — are decades out of date. “There are definitely communities that really need that data,” said Ned Swanberg, the flood hazard mapping coordinator with Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the Fiscal Cliff Package, "Savings and Costs in the Fiscal Cliff Package" [table] The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (January 1, 2013).
This is based in part on the document:
Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported out the Legislative Branch 2013 budget. According to the August 2, 2012 press release, GPO’s budget request was fully funded and will include:
- $83.7 million for Congressional Printing and Binding
- $34.7 million for Salaries and Expenses of the Superintendent of Documents
- $7.8 million for the revolving fund
- $126.2 million total
Government Printing Office - $126.2 million – This funding level is identical to the fiscal year 2012 enacted level in total funding. At the recommended levels, Congressional Printing and Binding will be funded at $83.632 million. This is a 7.8% reduction from the fiscal year 2012 enacted level and is identical to the request level. Within this reduced funding level, full funding is provided for printing the 2012 edition of the U.S. Code, which is published every six years under authority of Title 2, U.S. Code.
The amount recommended for Salaries and Expenses is $34.7 million, which is a reduction of $272,000 from the enacted level. This funding level would allow the GPO to continue mission requirements ordered by the Congress.
The bill would provide $7.8 million for GPO’s Revolving Fund for critical maintenance of printing systems. Of this amount:
- $3.4 million is for Information Technology Projects such as development of a replacement system for the XML system, and replacement of systems critical to GPO’s network security monitoring and protection;
- $3.8 million is for Federal Digital System Projects; and
- $460,000 is for fire and safety projects at GPO facilities.
Also in the bill, the Library of Congress' budget allocation is slated for $592.2 million. The bill would provide an additional $4.9 million for the LOC, which is an increase of 0.8% above the fiscal year 2012 enacted level. This funding level assumes current staffing levels.
There's still some haggling to be done with House Legislative Branch FY13 appropriations bill -- most notably the revolving fund is only budgeted at $4,096,000 rather than the Senate's proposed $7.8 million. Stay tuned!
GPO Press Release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 13, 2012
GPO MAKES AVAILABLE THE FEDERAL BUDGET FOR THE FIRST TIME AS AN APP
WASHINGTON-The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) releases a mobile Web application (app) for President Barack Obama's Budget for the U.S. Government, FY 2013. This is the first time the Budget is available as an app. GPO's mobile Budget app will provide users with access to the text and images of the FY 2013 Budget, including the Budget Message of the President, information on the President's priorities, and budget overviews organized by agency. The app provides links to GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys) where summary tables and additional books of the Budget, including the Analytical Perspectives, Appendix, and Historical Tables are available. The public can take advantage of this free mobile Web app on major mobile device platforms, including iOS 4.3 and above, Android 2.2 and above, and Blackberry OS version 6.0 and above.
The Budget is also available through GPO's retail and online bookstore and on FDsys.
"GPO is very excited to make President Obama's Budget for the U.S. Government available for the first time as a mobile Web app," said Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks. "Through GPO's role as the digital information platform for the Federal Government, we continue to explore different ways to make Government information available to the public and developing apps is just one way we are meeting that goal."
The FY 2013 Budget app is the second mobile Web app that GPO has developed. The first, the mobile Member Guide, was released in November 2011. GPO also supported the Library of Congress in developing an iPad app for the Congressional Record, released last month.
GPO AND OMB TO DISTRIBUTE PRESIDENT OBAMA’S BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2013
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) are releasing President Barack Obama’s Budget for the U.S. Government, FY 2013. Printed copies are available through GPO’s retail and online bookstore. The Budget is also available electronically on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) www.fdsys.gov.
Monday, February 13, 2012 11:15 a.m. EST
Hard copies of the Budget may be purchased through GPO’s retail and online bookstore.
Budget of the U.S. Government $39
Budget Appendix $76
Analytical Perspectives $53
Historical Tables $50
The authentic online version will be available through a direct link on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) after 11:15 a.m. EST. www.fdsys.gov
The hearing on Tuesday (Feb 7, 2012) on budgets for the Library of Congress, the Government Printing Office, the Government Accountability Office, and the Congressional Budget Office is not expected to be webcast by the committee.
- Video Blackout of Hearing on Budgets for Legislative Support Agencies, Daniel Schuman, Sunglight Foundation
(Feb. 5, 2012).
Only the House and Senate Legislative Appropriations Committees regularly hold annual public hearings on the workings of these agencies; the oversight committees (Committee on House Administration and Senate Rules) generally do not, and the Joint Committee on the Library and Joint Committee on Printing no longer holds substantive meetings in public.
The new House rules require that all committees provide "audio and video coverage of each hearing or meeting" that "allows the public to easily listen ... and view the proceedings" "to the maximum extent practicable." All of the House committees have at least one hearing room that is equipped with a camera, and the House Recording Studio will provide a camera upon a committee's request. Unfortunately, this hearing is being held in a room without a camera, and I've been informed that the Committee has not requested one.
Schuman notes that things could still change for Tuesday's hearing -- it could change rooms and could be webcast. He plans to attend it, and says he will post an update on the Sunlight Foundation blog if he can make it into the tiny room where the meeting is currently scheduled.
Congress Nixes Climate Service, By Curtis Brainard, Columbia Journalism Review (Nov 21, 2011).
NOAA's budget request for fiscal year 2012 (which began October 1) included a proposal to reorganize its existing climate capabilities and services into "a single point of entry" for users called the Climate Service. The stated goal was to "more efficiently and effectively respond to the rapidly increasing demand for easily accessible and timely scientific data and information about climate that helps people make informed decisions in their lives, businesses, and communities."
Despite the fact that the proposal did not call for any additional funding to establish the new office, Republican lawmakers opposed it every step of the way, according to the Post's Brian Vastag, who was seemingly the only reporter to spot Congress's decision to scuttle the Climate Service during budget negotiations last week.
Congress is proposing cuts to the Census Bureau budget that would result in cancelling the next economic census.
- Census Confronts Budget Ax, By Ben Casselman, Wall Street Journal, (October 31, 2011).
Economists warned that cutting the measure would rob policy makers of crucial information. "If you're trying to figure out what policy measures America should be taking right now to promote job growth for families and workers, without data sets like the 2012 economic census it's going to be a lot harder to do," said Matthew Slaughter, a professor at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business and a former member of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers.
...Conducted in various forms since the early 19th century, the economic census surveys roughly five million American businesses about their revenue, expenses, number and type of workers, and other information. The census data provide the framework for a swath of other economic measures, from inflation to industrial production to the gross domestic product, that are based on monthly or quarterly surveys. Because those surveys are far smaller than the Economic Census, they become less accurate over time unless recalibrated based on new census data.
- Census Chiefs: Cuts Will Leave Nation Flying Blind In Bad Economy, by Michael McAuliff, Huffington Post, (Oct. 27, 2011).
Six of the last seven directors of the U.S. Census Bureau fear proposed cuts to the bureau's budget will blind the nation's financial experts. They're urging congressional leaders to reconsider reductions that could end the gathering of crucial economic data for the first time in 200 years.
Hat tip to Kevin Taglang!