Sequester-related budget cuts could affect public safety,
consumer protection, spectrum and universal service, an FCC spokesman said
Unless the Congress takes action by midnight Friday night
(March 1), the month will come in like a lion if that means taking a $85
billion bite from the budgets of government agencies across the board.
"The cuts to the FCC's budget required by sequestration are
very significant, particularly at a time when staff levels are lower than they
have been in nearly 30 years," said the spokesman, "and will harm
vital agency missions including public safety and homeland security, law
enforcement, universal service, spectrum, and consumer protection. We have been
developing plans to try to mitigate the impact of these cuts on consumers, the
communications sector, and our staff."
The total FCC budget is $341,923,845. Sequestration would
cut about $17 million, and would need to be realized in seven months.
Auction-related expenses are exempt from the sequester, however.
The FCC held an "all-hands" sequestration
webinar -- internal only -- on Thursday hosted by FCC managing director David
Robbins to talk about the impact of across-the-board budget cuts on the agency,
but that meeting was described as focused on the employees, rather than how the
cuts might affect users of the process -- media outlets seeking licenses or FCC
approvals or decisions.
The bottom line appears to be that the agency is
going to try to avoid furloughing any employees through a combination of cuts
to travel and expenses (contractors). If there are furloughs, it will be a
Friday off every other week, as is the plan in other parts of the government.
The FCC may also be slow to hire as folks retire, rather than a moratorium on