Department of Energy

Department of Energy (DOE) officials reported some challenges in planning for sequestration, but a variety of circumstances and actions helped the agency mitigate sequestration’s effects. For example, DOE officials said that planning for sequestration was a challenge because some of DOE’s programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) represented individual projects, such as site-specific cleanup activities, that were already completed, required less funding than DOE received, or were not a priority for fiscal year 2013. To address this issue, DOE reprogrammed funding from such PPAs to higher priority projects. For DOE’s Weapons Activities account, which funds activities for maintaining the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, DOE also benefited from a fiscal year 2013 funding increase compared to the previous year, as well as greater flexibility to reprogram funds. Moreover, DOE officials said that the department’s ability to use carryover balances from prior fiscal years helped it mitigate the effects of sequestration. However, the officials noted that decreasing carryover balances reduces DOE’s ability to absorb large budget reductions in subsequent years. DOE did not furlough its employees but estimated that contractors furloughed approximately 3,600 employees as a result of sequestration reductions.