By Pat Warren

ELKRIDGE, Md. (WJZ) — The federal government is one day closer to billions of dollars in budget cuts that will cost thousands of Maryland jobs.

Political reporter Pat Warren spoke with local workers about their concerns with that deadline looming.

At businesses with government contracts, workers are feeling as though Congress is letting them down.

The employees at FLIR Systems in Elkridge, Howard County are working–and wondering why their Congress isn’t. On a day when FLIR is manufacturing sensors for the military, Congress is manufacturing fear.

“I just wonder what are these people doing? Are they affected? Are they about to lose their jobs?” asked Felix Carey.

“No, they continue to get their paychecks every week while the rest of us are scared to death that we won’t get a paycheck and can’t pay our bills,” he continued.

Tuesday, President Obama warned workers at Newport News Shipyard they may have to stay home without pay. Wednesday, Governor O’Malley was delivering similar bad news to the workers at FLIR.

“Our proximity to the nation’s capital means these cuts are particularly challenging to our economy,” he said.

Which is a challenge for Cassandra Oliver.

“It’s scary as a young mother, you know. I worry a lot how I’m going to provide for my family,” she said.

The state projects the cuts will cost 12,000 jobs. Those cuts will affect 8,600 Marylanders who will lose women, infants and children benefits. About 100,000 will see job training and access services cut along with Head Start and substance abuse programs.

“Whether we’re Democrats, whether we’re Republicans, whether we’re Independents, I think we can all agree that there is no progress without jobs,” O’Malley said.

The president will be meeting with congressional leaders on Friday.

Right now, FLIR Systems has plans to expand its business, but like everything else connected to the federal government, the future is uncertain.

Apart from concerns for businesses with government contracts, Maryland’s army bases alone could lose $95 million.


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