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Thanks to the Defense Department's announcement Tuesday, the number of federal workers forced on furlough by the sequester now stands at 820,000. Other agencies had already furloughed 140,000 workers, Politico's Darren Samuelsohn reports, and the Defense Department is furloughing 680,000. That's 820,000 workers and their families suffering substantial pay cuts.
Federal agencies have been scrambling to reduce the impact of the furloughs and in some cases, including Health and Human Services and the Education Department, have avoided them entirely. That isn't done without cuts to other pieces of those agencies' work, but according to Republican logic, if powerful people don't see it and suffer from it, it's not there, and if they do, it's fake:
“This is kind of a no-win situation,” said Scott Lilly, a former Democratic staff director to the House Appropriations Committee. “If you figure out how to do this in a way that reduces the impact, people are going to say obviously, you had more money than you needed. On the other hand, if you come out and there are some problems people identify, you’re accused of grandstanding and trying to make it worse than it really is.”
The whole point of sequestration was always to cause pain. It has been, from the beginning for people who rely on programs that have been cuts, and with the Defense Department's furloughs, another 680,000 workers are feeling the pain.