Federal Employees React to Sequestration
KVOA News 4
TUCSON - Drastic changes could be coming if there's no political deal to stop spending cuts set to start next Friday.
Congress approved sequestration two years ago in case they couldn't come up with a budget.
With the deadline approaching, local and federal agencies are preparing for the worst.
Congressman Ron Barber says more than 49,000 Arizonans could lose their jobs. He held a news conference and asked local leaders to talk about the direct impact sequestration was going to have on their agencies.
Bill Carnegie of the Community Food Bank says they are already down 2% in contributions.
"So we're struggling," he said. "We're almost at a point where we are maxed out in our ability to respond to hunger in this community."
Matt Sherman works at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. He's looking at a 20% pay cut.
"Sequestration in an atomic bomb that was not intended to be detonated," he says. "It was a poison pill that was never intended to be swallowed. It must be stopped."
Brad Hoyt and Walter Shannon are federal employees at the Bureau of Prisons. They are concerned about mandatory furloughs.
"Working in a prison in inherently dangerous as it is, this only makes it worse for us."
Walter Shannon and his wife both work at the prison so they're taking a double hit.
"Why does this budget have to come down to federal employees and furlough federal employees why does this have to come on our backs? That's what we want to know."
Ron Barber wasn't in Congress in 2011 when they voted on sequestration and is proposing another bill.
"It says quite clearly if congress does not pass a budget by April 1st this will impact the sequestration issue it should not get paid."
Monday, Congressman Barber returns to Washington where he hopes both sides will come to an agreement before March 1st.