White House to Federal Agencies: Get Ready for Cuts
Budget office tells agencies to prepare for upcoming 'sequester'
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2013 2:03 PM CST
In this file photo from 2011, President Obama discusses the continuing budget talks in the briefing room of the White House.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

(Newser) – In anticipation of the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts (the "sequester") that kick in March 1 unless Congress makes a budget deal to avert them, the White House budget office told federal agencies yesterday to "intensify" their preparations. The agencies were asked to think up ways to lower their budgets by 8% to 10%, including but not limited to hiring freezes, furloughs, and the cutting of contracts or grants. Some agencies have already started warning employees that furloughs could be coming; at least 30 days' notice is required, CNNMoney reports.