Sequestration causes concern in Michiana

The drastic federal spending cuts that no one seems to like are poised to take effect anyway at midnight tonight.

“Sequestration is a fancy word for dumb idea,” said Tony Flora with the North Central Indiana AFL-CIO Council.

Congress appears determined to dive head first into the sequestration process.

The situation is so hopeless in Washington, D.C. that members of the house—went home last night. “We don’t have votes today,” said U.S. Rep. Fred Upton during a live interview on 16 Morning News.

About the best Rep. Upton can hope for now is to make the process of sequestration a little less painful—particularly on the Department of Defense. “We’ve got to make reasonable choices; we’re going to pass a bill this next week to allow the Pentagon and other agencies better ability to reprogram the dollars to make choices within their overall budgets.”

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, (R) Indiana’s Second District, also went on the offensive on behalf of national defense on 16 Morning News. “The president has got to sit down and take the responsibility that the congress is trying to give him to allow the Department of Defense and the Pentagon to have discretionary cuts and not across the board cuts, we're trying to make that happen.”

The situation doesn’t appear to bode well for defense contractor AM General, where some 400 workers have already been laid off.

“You know, they're waiting on new programs. How can the Department of Defense go into new programs when it doesn't know what its budget is going to look like as we lurch from cliff to cliff,” said Tony Flora.

Flora fears that the longer sequestration lasts—the worse things will get. “There could be 11,000 employees in the State of Indiana who would be furloughed, those are civilian employees of the Department of Defense. If you already heard in the news the Department of Defense announced the way they’re going to address some of the budget cuts is that the employees will have partial layoffs, furloughs, so they’ll lose pay. The AFL-CIO is estimating that would be about $63 million in the State of Indiana for lost wages.

Yet another fiscal crisis looms right around the corner. On March 27th, the latest continuing resolution expires. Unless it is replaced, the government may have to shut down.

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