Fort Carson: Pending Budget Cuts Could Hurt Thousands

Budget cuts are on the verge of becoming a reality for thousands of workers at Fort Carson.

The Mountain Post says the pending sequestration cuts could harm about 3,000 Army employees, unless Congress takes action by March 1. If Congress doesn't, and the cuts happen, the workers could be forced to take more than 20 furlough days between April and September--the equivalent of a 20 percent pay cut.

President Obama and congressional Republicans remain in gridlock as the deadline looms closer and closer; Democrats are arguing for a deficit reduction plan that is half increase in revenue, half spending cuts; Republicans are calling for a deal that relies primarily on spending cuts, as they do not want to raise taxes.

Without a deal reached between the two parties, across-the-board government spending cuts will go into effect in less than a week. The cuts will amount to $1.2 trillion, with half coming from defense and half coming from non-defense. The defense cuts will not affect veterans' benefits or active duty military personnel.

The sequester was established during the 2011 budget negotiations, when Congress agreed that if a congressional supercommittee was unable to come up with a deficit reduction plan, that sweeping automatic cuts would go into effect.

Tuesday, Obama called for Republicans to avoid the sequester by working with him on a balanced package.

"This is not an abstraction - people will lose their jobs," he said. "Our top priority must be to do everything we can to grow the economy and create good middle-class jobs. It has to drive every decision that Congress and everyone in Washington makes over the next several years. That's why its so troubling that just 10 days from now Congress might allow a series of automatic, severe budget cuts to take place that will do the exact opposite."

Republicans say they agree that the sequester will harm the country, but are holding firm on their position that Obama's plan is a bad replacement for the sequester. House Speaker John Boehner charged in a recent op-ed that the sequester "is a product of the president's own failed leadership."