Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Meat-inspection furloughs won't come for several months, Vilsack tells Congress

After warning that the federal budget sequester would force furloughs of meat inspectors and closure of plants as early as April 1, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the House Agriculture Committee today that all inspectors will keep working for several months because of required notice to the inspectors and their union, Shan Li of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Vilsack said USDA could try to concentrate the furloughs into the final quarter of the fiscal year, July, August and September, by which time the budget impasse could be resolved. "The Obama administration says all 8,400 inspectors might be furloughed for a total of 15 days, Abbott writes. "Vilsack said the total was more likely to be 11 or 12 days. . . . Meat inspectors are guaranteed 30 days' notice of a furlough, said the union that represents them. Inspectors could face a furlough of one day a week but not always the same day."

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