The Treasury Department is telling its staff not to worry about the "fiscal cliff," an internal memorandum sent to all employees reveals. The memo, which is signed by the deputy secretary of the treasury, Neal S. Wolin, states that "there is no reason why both sides should not be able to come together" to reach a deal.
"As you are likely aware, the Administration and Congress are continuing to work to resolve a series of economic or fiscal events, collectively referred to as the “fiscal cliff,” that are scheduled to occur around the end of the year. One of the key issues involves potential across-the-board reductions in Federal spending- also known as “sequestration”-which were put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Under current law, these reductions are scheduled to take effect on January 2, 2013. Many of you have raised questions regarding the impact of a potential sequestration for the Department of the Treasury, and I would like to take a moment to clarify a few things," the memo begins.
"First and foremost, it is important to keep in mind that the Administration remains focused on working with Congress to reach agreement on a balanced deficit reduction plan that avoids such cuts. Sequestration was never intended to be implemented, and there is no reason why both sides should not be able to come together and prevent this scenario."
Regardless, however, the memo states, even if a deal is not reached by the deadline, "day-to-day operations" are not expected "to change dramatically on or immediately after January 2, should sequestration occur. This means that we will not be executing any immediate personnel actions, such as furloughs, on that date. Should we have to operate under reduced funding levels for an extended period of time, we may have to consider furloughs or other actions in the future."
The deputy secretary goes on, "But let me assure you that we will carefully examine other options to reduce costs within the agency before taking such action, taking into consideration our obligation to execute our core mission. Moreover, if such action proves to be necessary, we would provide affected employees the requisite advance notice before a furlough or other personnel action would occur. We would also immediately cancel any scheduled personnel actions should a deficit reduction agreement be reached that restores our agency funding."