NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — As President Barack Obama urged Congress to avert sweeping across-the-board cuts with “just a little bit of compromise,” local lawmakers are concerned about what it could mean for the Tri-State Area if an agreement isn’t reached.
The $85 billion budget-cutting mechanism could affect everything from commercial flights to classrooms to meat inspections. Domestic and defense spending alike would be trimmed, leading to furloughs for hundreds of thousands of government workers and contractors.
The White House, seeking to ratchet up pressure on Congressional lawmakers, released state-by-state reports on the impact of the cuts. The White House compiled its state-by-state reports from federal agencies and its own budget office.
In New York, the cuts would cause some 12,000 Department of Defense workers to be furloughed. In New Jersey, about 11,000 Department of Defense workers would be furloughed. Connecticut would see about 3,000 civilian Department of Defense employees furloughed.
“The military cuts are going to devastating for New York,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Monday. “A lot of the jobs to build the equipment that our men and women use when they’re in the field, we build that in New York. It’s a lot of our manufacturers that do that work.”
New York schools would lose nearly $43 million. Schools in New Jersey would lose $11.7 million. Connecticut schools would lose approximately $8.7 million in funding.
The law enforcement community will lose more than a million dollars that currently goes to prevent crimes, prosecute them and fund the courts.
“We want the American people to know this isn’t fair and it’s not right,” Gillibrand said. “When we have other victims compensation funds, none of them are being cut. This is the only one.”
“This is one of the most poignant examples of why we must work to avert the sequester,” said Sen. Charles Schumer said. “We can entirely avoid this problem if both parties agree to support a balanced deficit reduction plan that includes closing tax loopholes as well as sensible savings. But in the event that they don’t, we must work to make sure there that the burden does not fall on the national heroes who are finally receiving the help they deserve through the Zadroga Act.”
“It’s about people, it’s not about a bill,” said Joseph Zadroga on Monday, with tears running down his face.