Congress approves funding to avoid SRS furloughs

Thursday, May 16, 2013 5:35 PM
Last updated Friday, May 17, 2013 1:32 AM
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A $79 million federal funding request for Savannah Ri­ver Site could receive expedited final approval from the White House’s Office of Man­age­ment and Budget to halt employee furloughs, according to U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.

The money requested by the De­part­ment of Energy was approved Wednesday by two House and two Sen­ate committees. The proposal, which would reassign funding from other projects to SRS, was delayed more than a month until the White House office gave its first OK this month.

“In eight days, Congress took the right steps to reprogram funding,” Wilson said. “Now, this should be expedited.”

Thousands of SRS employees face an imminent threat of reduced working hours, and hundreds of jobs could be eliminated under widespread federal budget cuts known as sequestration.

“Everyone understands the effect on a family of a 20 percent pay reduction,” Wilson said.

The Energy Department said Thurs­day that the reassigned funds will ensure high-priority activities continue at SRS.

“While the impacts of sequestration cannot be completely mitigated, this is an important step to ensuring the cleanup mission makes as much progress as possible with the available resources,” department spokeswoman Lindsey Geisler said in an e-mail.

Wilson credited a town-hall meeting in Aiken this month and teamwork from area chambers of commerce with pressuring Con­gress to take action.

Forty delegates representing the Greater Aiken, Augusta Metro, Co­lum­bia County and North Augusta chambers of commerce traveled to Washing­ton last week and met with lawmakers, said David Jameson, the president and CEO of Greater Aiken chamber.

“I am hopeful this work will be complete,” Jameson said. “It will be a great relief for so many people, and we couldn’t be happier. These are our friends and neighbors, and we care about their financial well-being.”

He said the area’s economy has already suffered because of work schedule reductions that went into effect soon
after sequestration began in March.

“Two months of furloughs has meant about $15 million lost to this community, and we don’t need that to continue,” Jameson said.

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Bodhisattva 05/17/13 - 04:18 am


WeAreAllInfected 05/17/13 - 05:43 am

SRS is the pit that each year the federal government throws 1 billion dollars into. It never seems fill in.

bdouglas 05/17/13 - 11:20 am
SRNS is the main pit. Well,

SRNS is the main pit. Well, and MOX. SRR seems not to have the issues managing their budget that SRNS does. Each year SRNS relies upon the reward money for the DOE goals they meet just to pay their employees. SRR hasn't had to touch theirs, nor have they had the extensive layoffs and furloughs that SRNS has. Not saying any of them aren't a money pit, but it's like SRNS doesn't even bother trying to do better.

KasparHauser 05/18/13 - 04:38 pm
Ignorance Is Bliss

One scarcely knows where to begin:

SRNS has hugely reduced the Cold War footprint at SRS while keeping the local economy insulated from the Duh-Byah Recession. If it looks like the money is being thrown away, it's because we are NOW cleaning up the mess left from all the right wing scaremongers of the Cold War, that is from YOUR PARENTS.

SRNS was blindsided by the incompetence of the GOP congress which could not pass a budget and could not pass a Continuing Resolution that funded the programs actually needed at SRS in 2013, as opposed to those programs needed in 2012 and earlier, which served as the basis for the CR.

SRS does NOT rely on reward money to pay employees, except for bonuses.

And, finally, the straw that broke the camel's backs is the sequestration; prior to that 20% pay cuts were just holding the line to the end of the year. The fault is with this GOP harangued (can't say 'led') Congress that has made taken a deliberate and intentional path to oppose and sabotage ANY bipartisan action just because Obama, variously, is "not one of Them" or is "one of Them", is a Muslim, is a Kenyan, is a Democrat, is someone they're "Not Ready For", is too highly educated, isn't their franchise of Christian, or any other conservative bigotry that puts personal prejudice, politics and petty grievance ahead of what is good for the WHOLE country.

Sounds to me like jealousy is once again revealed as a main motivator in the right wing. Just like getting rid of unions full of people who have actually fought to make their lives better, but which the conservatives were too skeered to try. Too scared because they were taught to 'respect their superiors' and bought that line as opposed to living like free citizens who were the equal of other. But, I guess when you don't think all people in the US are equal as citizens, that pollutes the rest of your views...

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