Those across-the-board cuts are set to kick in March 1. The so-called sequester would trim $1.2 trillion from federal budgets over a decade.
Agencies would have to negotiate with unions and then give employees 30 days notice before giving furloughs.
The sequester can be avoided if Congress and the White House agree on a plan to reduce the deficit. President Obama has called on Congress to pass a short-term fix to give them more time.