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Sequestration 2013: Pentagon employees could be furloughed one day a week

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Sequestration means more than a trillion dollars will be ripped from the federal budget over a decade. The Pentagon announced Wednesday it will absorb the blow by possible furloughs for civilian staffers.

The one-day-a-week furloughs for civilian employees of the Pentagon would hurt people like Kimmonique Robison, who works for Washington Headquarter Services.

"This is a hard game to play for those of us who are concerned about our bills and our families,” says Robison.

Furloughs from the sequestration would impact more than 750,000 workers in every state - from office staffers to teachers to aircraft maintenance workers.

Virginia would get hit the hardest, with more than an estimated $661 million in lost pay. California would follow, and then Maryland.

Pentagon officials said Wednesday that the automatic spending cuts could also hurt readiness and training for enlisted service members.

The furloughed workers would lose one day of work per week, or 20 percent of their pay, for up to 22 weeks, probably starting in late April.

Robert Hale, the Pentagon's budget chief, said the unpaid leaves for civilian workers would begin in late April and would save $4 billion to $5 billion if extended through the end of the budget year, Sept. 30. That is only a fraction of the $46 billion the Pentagon would have to cut this budget year unless a deficit-reduction deal is reached.

Department of Agriculture employee Charles Kendall says sequestration could mean fewer meat packing plants and less money in his family's pocket.

“We're pretty frugal so, I think that we will get through it,” Kendall says.
Frugal means fewer dollars for local businesses and less tax revenue for jurisdictions.

Another impact fewer riders and less revenue for Metro.

Economist Stephen Fuller says that when you factor in $4 billion out of the local economy from the payroll tax increase, $5.5 billion from federal procurement spending with the $4 billion from sequestration, that’s a whopping $13 billion out of the Metro area economy.

“It already has crippled the economy in the sense that it has stopped moving stopped growing,” Fuller says.

As the March 1 deadline for a spending nears, even non-government workers are worrying.

“Putting people out of work when the economy already is so soft is bad news,” says D.C. resident Ben Miller.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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