Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland lawmakers now have a better picture of how the federal spending cuts signed by President Obama will affect Marylanders.
Rochelle Ritchie explains.
We now know that civilian employees would have to take 22 unpaid furlough days and programs meant to help the unemployed find work could also see their dollars cut too.
“Sequestration is no way to run a country,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings.
A letter from the Pentagon to Governor O’Malley states the Army would lose $95 million–that includes cuts to Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground. The Air Force would lose at least $10 million, affecting projects at Andrews Air Force Base and there would be a $9 million cut to the Naval Academy.
“This can be the difference from spaghetti at dinner to Ramen Noodles, and people are going to have to make the decision on how they are going to continue with a 20 percent pay cut.”
While the threat to national security seems inevitable, those who are unemployed–like Constance Walker–are also worried.
“I think it’s ridiculous. We send these people to Congress and they can’t come together for the good of everybody and solve their differences,” Walker said.
Walker is part of a city program that trains people to work in health care and is funded with federal dollars.
“I’ve been laid off a lot of times over the last 20 years and this career change gives me an opportunity to do something positive for me and my son,” she said.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake–responding to the cuts–says the city will have to act.
“The cuts from the sequester hurt the most vulnerable in our population. We have many schools with Title I teachers, their funding is in jeopardy,” she said.
President Obama is pointing the finger at Congress for the sequestration, saying it’s unnecessary.
“They’ve allowed these cuts to happen because they refuse to budge to close a single wasteful loophole to help reduce the deficit,” he said.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is holding an emergency meeting Monday to talk about the budget.