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Montgomery County Council President Not Sweating Sequestration

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Like D.C. and Virginia, Maryland expects to take a hit from potential sequestration cuts, but in Montgomery County, they hope that can be offset with growth.
Like D.C. and Virginia, Maryland expects to take a hit from potential sequestration cuts, but in Montgomery County, they hope that can be offset with growth.

While the threat of sequestration has been a big issue in both the presidential and U.S. Senate races in Virginia, it would also have a big impact on the other side of the Potomac River, in Maryland.

One top Montgomery County official is not worried about sequestration, however, even if it does take effect.

Montgomery County Council president Roger Berliner believes the federal budget cuts that would be enacted if Congress doesn't act by the end of the year would hurt the county, especially the $2.5 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. He adds, however, that the county's economy is improving enough to weather sequestration.

"Is it a pretty picture? No. But is it something we can absorb? Absolutely," says Berliner. "And we would."

Berliner is also confident the lame-duck session of Congress set to convene after elections will prevent sequestration from happening.

"It is important that Congress appreciate the impact on the defense industry, which it is clearly beginning to understand," says Berliner. "And to understand how it will ravage social safety net programs. As well as leading institutions like NIH. And I do believe that it is when you get to the brink, when you realize you must pull back."

The county does not have specific figures on the impact sequestration would have, but a report from the state last week estimated the cuts would cost Maryland 12,000 jobs.

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