By Pat Warren

WOODLAWN, Md. (WJZ)—The countdown is on. We are just a few days away from $85 billion in federal budget cuts. Maryland could get squeezed more than most states because of the number of federal workers in our state.

Political reporter Pat Warren explains what the state’s top lawmakers are doing about it.

Sequestration is raising concerns for thousands of Maryland workers.

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin opposes the automatic cuts.

“It’s going to cost significant reduction in service hours, which is something we don’t want to see,” Sen. Cardin said.

The senator fielded questions at the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn on Monday.

“How soon would we be notified that we have to go out on furlough?” one woman asked.

“What are the prospects for having a budget in a month?” asked a man.

“I think maybe there needs to be a shift in focus,” said one woman.

“People aren’t getting a chance to get their views expressed,” one man said.

Governor Martin O’Malley says automatic cuts would hurt the state’s economy.

“These are job killing cuts,” Gov. O’Malley said on “Face The Nation” on Sunday. “Whatever our differences might be, we understand this is an economic threat. This is going to hurt a lot of moms and dads in our region who go to work everyday, working in places like NIH and NSA.”

O’Malley and other governors met with the president at the White House on Monday. There was criticism of Congress and the president.

“They need to get outta that box that sits under the dome and realize that this has real implications in people’s lives,” said Gov. Dan Malloy, D-Connecticut.

“The president needs to stop campaigning, stop trying to scare the American people, stop trying to scare states,” said Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-Louisiana.

“I think all of us are calling on Congress to come together to solve this problem, and do it not in an arbitrary way but in a way where we can compromise and save jobs and keep our economy moving forward,” O’Malley said.

But right now, it looks like a standstill.

Apparently there were no assurances from the White House that a compromise would be reached by March 1.

President Barack Obama is urging governors to lobby members of Congress.


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