Federal Workers Worry About Furloughs, Firings | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Federal Workers Worry About Furloughs, Firings

Play associated audio
Michael Bodaken of the National Housing Trust is worried about potential impacts of sequestration on housing for the needy.
Jared Angle
Michael Bodaken of the National Housing Trust is worried about potential impacts of sequestration on housing for the needy.

Budget debates on Capitol Hill involve wonky discussions about procurements, tax policy, and where to place a decimal point. Just down the street in the agencies and contracting firms that carry out Congress mandates, different discussions are occurring — ones about furloughs, firings and steep pay cuts.

"I mean it's definitely office talk," says Michael, a 43-year-old husband and father of two. As an environmental engineer with a contractor who works for the Defense Department, he fears getting laid off if those cuts hit the Pentagon. He says his firm and family are already suffering.

"You can't really plan, because we thought this would be a done deal as of Jan. 2," he says.

It's not just defense. The other half a trillion dollars in budget cuts would hit nearly the entire federal budget. Experts say many cuts don't make sense.

Let's look at housing. In D.C. alone, there are nearly 5,000 elderly or disabled households that depend on Section 8 housing. Under sequestration, Section 8 would be slashed.

Michael Bodaken of the National Housing Trust says the government would have to pay about $40,000 more in nursing home fees for each elderly Medicaid recipient moved off Section 8 housing.

"It's important to not just think about the people, which are fundamental, but also for those who are counting money in the federal government," he sys. "Think about what the cost of the displacement of these households and what the federal government is going to have to do once that occurs."

President Obama wants Congress to delay the sequestration from hitting agencies next month. Republicans are cool to the idea, which leaves this divided government once again facing a scenario that could ripple through the economy in the region.


This story was informed by WAMU's Public Insight Network. It's a way for people to share their stories with us and for us to reach out for input on upcoming stories.
 For more information, click this link.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 22

This weekend you can see two classic operas about sex, jealousy and drama or sit down for a children’s theater performance that takes a lighter look at love.

WAMU 88.5

Two Chicken Megafarms Proposed In Delaware

Delaware is already a big state for the poultry industry, but proposals for two new megafarms could take things to the next level.

NPR

U.S. Appeals Courts Issue Conflicting Decisions On Obamacare Subsidies

One panel threw out subsidies in the 36 states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges. Another said the IRS rule that set them up was legal.
NPR

Tweeting From A Conflict Zone: Does It Help Or Hurt News Reporting?

As Gaza, Ukraine and Syria trend on Twitter, has social media changed the way conflicts are covered? Host Michel Martin finds out from reporter Anne Barnard and Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.