Local Lawmakers Worry About Automatic Cuts

Automatic cuts to the federal budget could hit the D.C. area hard

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Alex Wong/Getty Images
    U.S. House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) arrive for a news conference November 16, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The news conference was to call on the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, also known as the super committee, "to go big on deficit reduction."

    With the failure of the supercommittee to cut more than $1 trillion from the nation’s debt, automatic cuts are scheduled to hit the federal budget in 2013. The failure affects all Americans, but those cuts could disproportionately fall on the National Capital Region.

    From Virginia’s defense industry to the District’s federal workers, local representatives are worried the local economy will suffer as a result of the cuts. The president is threatening to veto any attempt to undo the upcoming cuts. Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin said he supports that but thinks there’s still time for lawmakers to craft an agreement to avoid the steep cuts. 

    "All those agencies would have major impact on our region," Cardin said. "It would affect the federal workforce; the jobs that they’re doing every day to protect the people of this our country. It would affect our national defense; it would affect our defense contractor’s employment. It’s something that we want to avoid."

    Some Republicans are working to undo the automatic cuts slated for the Pentagon. Former congressional budget staffer Stan Collinder said it’s the contractor’s budgets in the region that would get hit hardest. 

    "It’s not the doomsday scenario in the Pentagon," Collinder said. "It’s the doomsday scenario for contractors."

    Cardin said while the super committee failed to find $1.2 trillion in savings Congress still has the obligation to at least reach a smaller bipartisan deal.  

    "Even if we can’t do the whole one point two, if we do a substantial part of it, then sequestration becomes much less of a concern."

     

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