Congress is probably one of the worst bosses in the world. In March, the sequestration kicked in, the functional equivalent of your boss strolling into your office and demanding you unilaterally cut costs by eight percent. No other guidance; you just need to make everything you do one-twelfth less expensive. After three years pay freezes for your entire organization. And then your boss strolls back out to complain about something he hates for the fortieth time. 535 Bill Lumberghs asking you to work on Saturday.
In light of the demands of sequestration, the people who actually have Congress as a boss — executives at various government agencies — were pretty subdued in offering their thoughts on the situation. As part of an annual event hosted by the Senior Executives Association, a professional association for government employees, several executives honored by the president spoke on the topic, as our colleagues at Government Executive report. That discussion included direct quotes that weren't attributed to the employees.
Quotes like this one, from an executive with the Defense Department. (All quotes below are from the SEA's release.)
"We’re expected to complete the same missions that we did before and when something goes wrong … nobody stands up and says, ‘Well, it’s because we gave them less money.’"
The sequestration, it's worth remembering, was supposed to be a poison pill, an untenable proposal to enforce budget cuts if Congress couldn't reach a budget agreement. Congress couldn't reach a budget agreement, so the pill went into effect. And, to the speaker's point, Congress probably isn't going to be champing at the bit to accept blame for the problems that result.