POLITICS

Feds hiring hundreds as furloughs loom

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Photo - Help Wanted Sign
Help Wanted Sign
Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michal Conger

The federal government appears to be hiring for hundreds of jobs in the Washington, D.C. area and thousands more around the country, even as President Obama warns sequestration cuts will force agencies to furlough and lay off essential employees.

Administration officials warn sequestration would mean furloughing border patrol agents, air traffic controllers, food inspectors and other critical employees to deal with what they bill as drastic spending cuts.

But a quick search on usajobs.gov turns up a raft of open government positions ranging from cooks to mechanics to statisticians.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., sent a letter this morning to Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, calling for a freeze on non-essential hires to protect essential jobs.

Coburn detailed just 10 of the “numerous” lower priority positions listed on usajobs.gov, which combined could save $1.4 million for more critical jobs.

A staff assistant to the Department of Labor, for instance, earns up to $81,204 to answer phones. State Department drivers make up to $26.45 per hour. A director for the Air Force History and Museums Policies and Programs makes up to $165,300.

“Are any of these positions more important than an air traffic controller, a border patrol officer, a food inspector, a TSA screener, or a civilian supporting our men and women in combat in Afghanistan?” Coburn wrote.

Coburn also asked Zients whether the administration plans to issue guidance on saving money through attrition of nonessential positions, and requested a response to his letter by April 1.

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