Thousands Of Md. Workers Anticipate Automatic Budget Cuts & Furloughs
WASHINGTON (WJZ)—President Barack Obama met with congressional leaders at the White House to try to agree on a deal that would halt automatic federal budget cuts. But now both sides are saying there will be no deal.
Mike Hellgren reports here in Maryland, those massive budget cuts will be felt all around.
Governor O’Malley says this could cost Maryland 12,000 jobs. Now whether this is a true doomsday scenario or just a tolerable blow to our fragile economy depends on who you ask. We found plenty of frustration and outrage.
From airports to military bases, Maryland faces a disproportionately heavy toll from sequestration.
“I did not come to Washington to throw my constituents under the bus,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings.
More than 45,000 civilian defense employees could be furloughed in the state, losing hundreds of dollars every month from their paychecks.
“We’re always being targeted, we’re always being blamed for everything by the Congress and the public. And this sequestration’s just one more thing that adds to the worry and stuff,” said Bryan Clents, federal worker.
More than 7 percent of Maryland’s economy comes from federal spending, one of only a handful of states so dependent.
“We have about 5.6 percent of our workforce work for the federal government. That’s two and a half times the national average,” said Sen. Ben Cardin.
At Fort Meade, furlough notices will start going out soon telling some civilian employees they won’t get paid one day a week, and the uncertainty is difficult.
“The bottom line impact is we will be doing less with less,” said Col. Edward Rothstein, Fort Meade commander.
“We try not to bring those stressors into the office, but sometimes it’s very hard because that’s kind of the water cooler talk these days is ‘What’s going to happen, how are we going to get by?,'” said Linda Winkeis, federal worker.
At BWI Marshall Airport, federal authorities warn the cuts will affect air traffic controllers and TSA agents, causing long security lines and canceled flights.
“Tiring, my feet are going to hurt. It’s too much, but we have to do it though, huh,” a worker said.
If someone makes $34,000 a year, they’re going to lose about $250 a week in their paycheck.
Also, Maryland’s sole Republican U.S. Congressman Andy Harris issued a statement, chastising the president for doing what he called “nothing” to stop the cuts.