Making it hurt, as best they can

The Washington Times has obtained an email from an email from Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service official Charles Brown saying he asked if he could try to spread out the sequester cuts in his region to minimize the impact. The email indicates he was told not to do anything that would lessen the dire impacts Congress had been warned of. Times reporter Stephen Dinan quotes Brown’s message:

“We have gone on record with a notification to Congress and whoever else that ‘APHIS would eliminate assistance to producers in 24 states in managing wildlife damage to the aquaculture industry, unless they provide funding to cover the costs.’ So it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be,” Mr. Brown, in the internal email, said his superiors told him.

There is the back-and-forth on the underlying facts that you might expect in Dinan’s article, but neither Brown nor the main APHIS office in Washington returned calls seeking comment. It would not be unreasonable to draw inferences unfavorable to the likes of Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, who is quoted taking issue with the gist of the email, or to infer that there must be much more where that email came from.