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House panel acts to avert Weather Service furloughs

Jun. 27, 2012 - 06:08PM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments

The threat of furloughs for National Weather Service employees appears over.

The House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Weather’s Service’s budget has approved the agency’s request to shift almost $36 million in its current budget to shore up funding for local forecast offices and other purposes, a spokesman for the panel’s chairman, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., said an email late Wednesday. The comparable Senate panel had signed off on the transfer last week.

Earlier this month, the Weather Service warned that employees could be sent home as early as next month if lawmakers did not approve the reprogramming request. While the House action ends the prospect of furloughs, according to Wolf’s office, a spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, of which the Weather Service is a part, could not be reached for confirmation.

Approval of the reprogramming request had been slowed by lawmakers’ anger over the revelation that Weather Service managers moved money among different accounts in fiscal 2010 and 2011 without congressional approval.

Sens. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, have asked the Justice Department to investigate whether criminal violations of the Anti-Deficiency Act occurred. That law bars agencies from spending money not appropriated by Congress.

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