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Local Lawmakers Scramble To Manage, Minimize Federal Cuts

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Sequestration has gone into effect, and now lawmakers on Capitol Hill are scrambling to protect their personal budget priorities.
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Sequestration has gone into effect, and now lawmakers on Capitol Hill are scrambling to protect their personal budget priorities.

Now that billions of dollars in budget cuts have gone into effect, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are scrambling to protect their personal budget priorities. We've now entered the world of the sequester.

Tens of thousands of federal employees and contractors in the region are on edge, as they face furloughs that amount to a 20 percent pay cut. The details of those across-the-board cuts could become clearer this week, as House Republicans attempt to pass legislation keeping the government running until the end of the year.

Leaders are vowing to stand by sequestration's budget numbers, but Virginia Republican Morgan Griffith says he thinks lawmakers will rearrange the cuts.

"Obviously there are going to be some things that we'll have to go take a look at, and then trade cuts and negotiate at that point," he says.

While Republicans work to shield the Pentagon, Democrats are focusing on social programs, which they say can be protected if the GOP agrees to raise revenue.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) says through targeted budget cuts and closing tax loopholes, Congress should be able to unwind sequestration.

"That would both achieve the same amount of deficit reduction as the sequester for the entire calendar year, but do it without losing 750,000 American jobs, or creating that disruption," he says.

Sequestration continues to be the talk of Capitol Hill, yet it doesn't seem like the principals are moving any closer to a consensus.

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