• FAA furloughs begin with impact on flights slight so far

    Sunday was the first day of FAA furloughs, but commercial airline flights ran smoothly throughout the country. There were delays in New York area airports, but nothing that was considered significant. There were also delays in Florida, but they were caused by thunderstorms.

  • Airlines ask court to stop FAA furloughs

    The FAA’s annual budget is $16 billion. As part of the sequester, the agency must reduce its budget by $637 million between now and the end of September. The agency says that the only way it can achieve these saving is by imposing a 2-week furlough on its 47,000 employees – including 15,000 air traffic controllers. A coalition of U.S. airlines has petitioned a federal court to stop the furloughs, which began yesterday, saying they would leas to the cancellation of 6,700 flights a day.

  • DHS cuts funds for programs aiming to prevent a McVeigh-like fertilizer bombing attacks

    Timothy McVeigh used two tons of fertilizer and $3,000 of racing fuel to detonate a bomb outside the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. The blast killed 168 people. The Obama administration is currently not allocating money or resources to preventing fertilizer bombing attacks like the one McVeigh used, according to a former DHS official with direct knowledge of the department’s budgeting and operations.

  • DHS-funded police gear blurs line between crime-fighting and war-fighting

    DHS is funding the purchase of military gear by Bay Area police departments. Critics of the program say the money allocated for the war on terror is blurring the line between local law enforcement focusing on crime fighting and soldiers fighting in an enemy war zone.

  • Federal security grants to Kansas City cut

    DHS has removed Kansas City from the list of cities receiving DHS grants, which means that the city will now have to rely on its own resources to train local law enforcement on how to predict, spot, and react to terrorist activities.

  • Reinvestment in U.S. water infrastructure should be a top national priority

    The U.S. water infrastructure is often called the “invisible infrastructure” – a vast, largely invisible network of pipes and tunnels — nearly 1.4 million miles span across the United States, which is eight times the length of the U.S. highway system. Much of the U.S. infrastructure was built more than a century ago, and currently around 10 percent of these systems are at the end of their service life. If not addressed by 2020, this number could rise to 44 percent. A summit meeting of the U.S. water community calls on Congress to make water infrastructure a top national priority.

  • DHS formula grants to states drop dramatically

    DHS money allocation o money to states for first response and disaster recovery has dropped significantly. DHS formula grant program was at an all-time high of $2 billion in 2003, but last year the program had only $294 million. As a result of the sequester, another 5 percent will be cut from the program.

  • Proposed budget shows DHS will have to do with less

    The administration’s proposed 2013 budget shows that DHS will have to do with less: the department $39 billion is $625 million less than the department’s2012 budget, and, in addition, the department has committed to save an additional $1.3 billion by reducing administrative costs. Among the big-ticket items in the new budget: $714 million for a state-of-the-art animal disease lab; $494 million to fund research and development in cybersecurity, explosives detection, and chemical/biological response systems; and $221 million for 1,600 additional Border Patrol agents.

  • Lawmakers question TSA new uniform purchase

    Republican lawmakers want to know why the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has signed a contract worth  $50 million for new uniforms for the agency’s employees, at the same time that officials are complaining that budget cuts are causing staff shortages, flight delays, and longer lines at security checkpoints.

  • Lawmaker wants the FAA to keep Midway control tower operating

    Representative Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) is not happy with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) decision to add Midway Airport to the list of air ports whose air-traffic control towers  are subject to closing during overnight hours because of the federal budget cuts.

  • Obama, Hagel take pay cut to help sequester-affected federal employees

    President Barack Obama is following in the footsteps of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel by taking  a 5 percent pay cut to support federal workers who will be furloughed. Obama’s move will be backdated to 1 March, the first day of the sequester. The president’s yearly salary is $400,000, meaning that the cut will equal $20,000. Other senior administration officials, and some members of Congress and their staffs, have also announced that they will return a portion of their salary to the Treasury.

  • CBP rethinks budget cuts-related furloughs, over-time reductions

    Facing mounting criticism by political leaders and law enforcement in border states, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has decided to delay the implementation of two-week furloughs and cuts to overtime hours to its employees. The furloughs were originally set to begin later this month, and some said that reduction in hours worked by front-line personnel would have reduced security along the border.

  • U.S. to cut mineral payment to states by $110 million between now and August

    The U.S. Department of Interior  will cut its federal mineral payments to thirty-five states by $110 million due to the federal budget cuts. Different states will lose different amounts of money: Wyoming tops the list with $53 million in lost federal mineral payments over the next five months, while North Carolina is bringing up the rear, with the federal government cutting its mineral payments to the state by $7 (seven dollars) between now and August.

  • El Paso to hire more border officers to compensate for CBP budget cuts

    In El Paso, Texas, more than 100,000 residents depend on the activity across the bridges which connect the United States to Mexico. This includes $80 billion in trade a year that crosses the El Paso bridges and millions of shoppers who cross our bridges who spend more than $1.4 billion in the El Paso economy. Sequestration-related cuts, by promising longer wait times at border crossings, will hurt the local economy, and the El Paso city council is looking for ways to minimize the damage.

  • Budget cuts force the FAA to shut down 149 control towers

    The FFA will have to cut $637 million before 30 September. It plans to do so by give 47,000 employees two week furloughs, shutting down 149 control towers, and cutting overnight shifts at seventy-two different traffic facilities. Some worry about the impact these measures will have on air travel safety.