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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Little being done in Congress to put off spending cuts

  • With March 1 fast approaching, many are unsure what the impending sequestrations mean – or if they will happen at all.
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  • With March 1 fast approaching, many are unsure what the impending sequestrations mean – or if they will happen at all.
     
    The sequestrations are a series of across-the-board spending cuts which were set to take affect Jan. 1 of this year. However, with the last-minute fiscal cliff deal Congress passed Jan. 2, the sequestrations were put off until March 1.
     
    The sequestrations call for cuts across government funded entities, including Tinker Air Force Base.
     
    With some 2,000 Pottawatomie County residents working at Tinker in some capacity – temporary, part time or full time – locals could be heavily affected, Tim Burg, executive director of the Shawnee Economic Development Foundation, said.
     
    “The economy in general gets affected because the base quits buying anything,” Burg said. “It’s just like personal finances.”
     
    He explained that this could have an effect in the private sector – outside of expected job loss and furloughs – when supply companies and private contractors were no longer needed on the base.
     
    However, it’s impossible to say what exactly will happen, Burg said.
     
    “It all has a ripple effect,” he said, but what that will mean for employees of Tinker and other Pottawatomie County residents, it’s difficult to say.
     
    “It’s not like flipping a switch,” he added.
     
    Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) said the sequestration could affect nearly 16,000 civilian employees at Tinker alone. Additionally Inhofe warned of decreased military readiness because of equipment being left in disrepair.
     
    He explained that if the cuts take affect the military will not have money to order new parts, so instead they will leave their equipment unfixed.
     
    “If we are unable to avert sequestration, then cuts will occur to military installations. I cannot stress enough how important it is for the Chiefs of the Services to fully explain the potential impact to our armed forces and their plans for implementing the reductions; only then will the public truly know how devastating the cuts to the defense budget would be,” Inhofe said in a statement.
     
    President Barack Obama is currently urging Congress to pass something to put off the sequestration, or call it off all together. However, no progress has yet been made.
     
    Congress has until Friday, when the cuts kick in automatically. However, much like the January tax-hikes, it can be changed retroactively.
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