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Obama admin: No studies backing claims about Education, Transportation sequester cuts

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Officials from the Education and Transportation Departments told Congress today that they have no formal studies to support the administration’s claims about the effect of sequestration on those departments, with the Education representative saying they aren’t sure their predictions are correct.

“No,” Deputy Education Secretary Anthony Miller replied when Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, asked if the department had any studies to support Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s claim that “as many as 40,000 people will [their] lose jobs” due to sequestration cuts.

“We have an understanding of the cost structures form our historic work at the state and at the district and at the school level, we understand the basis of the cost structure,”Miller continued. “And so when the question is, how might this translate in terms of impact?’ we can say, ‘if consistent with the current allocation of funds as it is today, this is what it would translate in terms of personnel costs.”

Miller allowed that the Education Department might be wrong. “We’ve been very clear about “might” and that, if translated, this is the impact it could have,” he said. Miller also said that the Education Department has been preparing for the sequester “in varying degrees, since the beginning of the year” — meaning they began preparing after the law was originally scheduled to take effect.

“Both parties and the administration thought that it would not be going into effect,” he explained.

John Porcari, Deputy Transportation Secretary, also conceded that his department has no formal studies supporting Secretary Ray LaHood’s predictions about flight delays.

“It is difficult to measure precisely until the cuts are in effect,” Porcari said, though he stood by LaHood’s analysis.

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