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Local Lawmakers Worry About Automatic Cuts

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Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) is urging lawmakers to reconsider more than $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts that would disproportionately affect the D.C. area.
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Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) is urging lawmakers to reconsider more than $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts that would disproportionately affect the D.C. area.

With the failure of the supercommittee to cut more than $1 trillion from the nation’s debt, automatic cuts are scheduled to hit the federal budget in 2013. The failure affects all Americans, but those cuts could disproportionately fall on the National Capital Region.

From Virginia’s defense industry to the District’s federal workers, local representatives are worried the local economy will suffer as a result of the cuts. The president is threatening to veto any attempt to undo the upcoming cuts. Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin says he supports that, but thinks there’s still time for lawmakers to craft an agreement to avoid the steep cuts. 

"All those agencies would have major impact on our region," says Cardin. "It would affect the federal workforce; the jobs that they’re doing everyday to protect the people of this our country. It would affect our national defense; it would affect our defense contractor’s employment. It’s something that we want to avoid."

Some Republicans are working to undo the automatic cuts slated for the Pentagon. Former congressional budget staffer Stan Collinder says it’s the contractor’s budgets in the region that would get hit hardest. 

"It’s not the doomsday scenario in the Pentagon," says Collinder. "It’s the doomsday scenario for contractors."

Cardin says while the super committee failed to find one point two trillion dollars in savings Congress still has the obligation to at least reach a smaller bi-partisan deal.  

"Even if we can’t do the whole one point two, if we do a substantial part of it, then sequestration becomes much less of a concern."

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