The National Weather service plans to furlough as many as 5,000 employees for 13 days between July and September if a $36 million hole in its budget is not filled. The Weather Service is asking Congress for the money, asserting that the unpaid leave of employees will endanger critical weather operations in the middle of hurricane season. But the lawmakers are refusing to help the agency until they know more about recently uncovered budget mismanagement, reports the Washington Post.
"Certainly one way to grab some attention in the Congress—and the public at large—is to threaten to short staff the Hurricane Center during the summer," writes Jamie Dupree at the Atlanta Journal Constitution. An internal investigation revealed a fiscal mess at the agency. For years, money was reallocated from certain projects in order to pay employees—without the necessary permission from Congress. There has been no evidence of fraud or personal gain, but the head of the agency resigned less than two weeks ago.