Sequester Stalemate: Both Sides Blaming The Other Ahead Of Budget Cuts

6:58 AM, Feb 26, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Tuesday, President Obama visits Newport News, Virginia to discuss the impact of the $85 billion in budget cuts set to take effect on Friday. Unless there's an agreement everything from early education to law enforcement will be affected. We're just three days away from the deadline, and it doesn't appear there's a deal in sight.

Both sides are blaming the other and many people in Washington are anxious about what could happen on Friday.

The White House released a detailed state-by-state list on how the cuts will affect education, jobs, and healthcare. Airport officials are also warning people about longer lines and higher prices if they have to furlough their employees.  

Government employees are bracing themselves for massive furloughs. The federal government is required to give employees 30 days notice before a furlough can take affect. Those notices are expected to start going out this Friday, meaning furloughs could begin in April.

All over the government, agencies are preparing furlough plans and sending out memos. The actions could mean more than a million federal workers will take unpaid leave days unless Congress reaches an agreement to avoid the cuts. 

The Pentagon alone says almost 800,000 of its workers could lose up to 20 percent of their pay through furloughs.

We're seeing many forms of reaction to these unpaid days. For example, the Washington Post reports that the Federal Workers Alliance -- a coalition of 20 unions -- launched an online message board where workers can describe how furloughs would affect them.

Republicans say, however, the President is using scare tactics and that the cuts won't be as harsh. They also say the President should be negotiating instead of holding rallies such as the one in Newport News.

On our website, we are asking: Should Congress face penalties if federal workers are furloughed? Check out the petition we have created with our partners at PopVox.  So far, more than 2,000 people have weighed in and their thoughts have been sent as letters to their representatives on Capitol Hill.



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