Sequestration: Maryland Leaders Call It a Long Word for Economic Pain

Are Gaithersburg-area federal workers and others worried about the threat of sequestration cuts?

The sequestration talks are taking place just a few miles away and if it occurs, its effects will be felt in the Gaithersburg area, the rest of the Greater Washington area and the state, local politicians say.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, in an appearance in Howard County Wednesday, said that 12,000 jobs in Maryland could be lost due to sequestration.

To put that number in perspective, the governor said approximately 30,000 jobs were created in the state last year.

“All of the great work that each of you does here is threatened by the uncertainty of the dysfunction in the halls of our House of Representatives,” said O’Malley.

If Congress can’t reach a compromise on the approximately $84 billion in automatic cuts before Friday, they will go into effect. The cuts will reduce spending in a number of areas, including education, the environment, health, the military and law enforcement, the White House said.

The governor said the public is losing patience with the repeated economic crises being reported from Capitol Hill and the White House.

“We need to get out of this vortex. The election is over,” O’Malley said.

A White House report said sequestration in Maryland could mean furloughs for 46,000 civilian Department of Defense employees, reducing gross pay by around $353.7 million. It would also include funding cuts to teachers and schools, work-study jobs on college campuses, Head Start programs and environmental funding.

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin wrote in a recent blog that “sequestration will result in a meat ax approach to reducing our deficit.”

The nation has been through this drill before. The sequester was set to begin on Jan. 1, 2013, if lawmakers weren’t able to reduce the budget deficit. That deadline, called the "fiscal cliff," came and went, and sequestration was postponed for two months. 

The mandated federal spending cuts will not include cuts to entitlement programs, such as Social Security and checks will continue to go out, but the Social Security Administration will likely have to furlough workers, meaning processing delays in claims and longer wait times for service.

The Baltimore Sun reports the cuts would leave people who call the agency's hotline on hold for 10 minutes and delay some disability decisions by a month.

For more Patch coverage of the sequestration's effects in your local area and around Maryland:

O'Malley Warns of Effects of Sequestration

Fort Meade Readies for Looming Sequestration

Lack of Predictability in Sequestration Has County Leaders Worried

Maryland County Execs Fear Sequestration Effects

Sequestration Could Choke Flow of Money in Maryland

Sequestration: We Have a Choice 

Sequestration Could Impact Anne Arundel Schools

Don O'Neill February 28, 2013 at 03:13 PM
On sequestration, I would like to weigh in with some advice for Governor O'Malley. Stop moaning about what might happen, start planning for what will happen, and get back to us on your plan as soon as possible.
steve March 01, 2013 at 05:38 AM
Government cant manage a 2% reduction without crying about it and telling us all how the sky will fall and we are all doomed. Governement leaders are worthless. Businesses in the last four years have had to deal with 5-10-20-40-? % reducions in revenues and increases in expenses of tens of percent. Stop the crying and do some damn work. I will trade you a 2% reduction for the 12% expense reductions I am managing through right now in our business. Or how about the 2% reduction in personal income that all workers experienced this January with the expiration of the FiCA "holiday" . We didnt get a choice and have to work it out. Shut up Shut up Shut up, and make the cuts and then make some more... get the dead weight of debt interest payments off of the economys back...


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