Congress is in recess as $1.2 trillion in cuts loom over the heads of middle class workers and as the March 1st deadline draws near one of the biggest concerns is national security. Robert Hale, who is under the Secretary of Defense and Chief Financial Officer, says "we will have to cut back training particularly for non deployed units and that will lead to 2/3rds of army brigades at unacceptable levels of readiness by the end of the year."
The automatic spending cuts would put 800-thousand "civilian" defense employees on "unpaid" leave. Pennsylvania has 2 army depots, one of which is in Monroe County, they will both see budget cuts should the sequester happen. Jessica Wright, who is acting under the Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, says "these critical members of our workforce, they work in our depots they maintain tanks, aircraft; they teach our kids."
A new Army report says by October funding for the Tobyhanna Army Depot could drop by more than $300 million; nearly a third of their current $905 million budget. Job layoffs are possible. President Barack Obama says "these cuts are not smart, they are not fair. They will hurt our economy."
Lawmakers have a few plans on the table to avoid this problem, but many believe Democrats and Republicans will be unable to agree on one.
When asked about the sequester recently Representative Matt Cartwright, a Pennsylvania Democrat in the Republican run House, says he was "dumbfounded" because the House is on vacation instead of doing anything to fix the problem. Congress has one week to make a decision.