(WHNT) - Federal budget cuts known as sequestration are scheduled to begin on March 1st. Those cuts will hit our area's military-based economy hard, so Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle was in Washington, D.C. Friday working to soften the blow.
Battle, along with several other local politicians and business leaders, visited Capitol Hill to talk with House and Senate staff about sequestration and voice concerns about the impact on Tennessee Valley residents.
According to the mayor's office, the current cuts would slash active duty U.S. Army rosters and the Huntsville City School System will lose $1.7 million. In a news release, Mayor Battle pointed out that companies in our area are quote, "holding back on hiring and future planning, including expansions, because they don't know what the U.S. government is going to do."
Some think Congress and President Obama will be able to strike a long-term deficit reduction deal that avoids sequestration but time is running out. The Mayor's impression, after visiting Capitol Hill Friday, is that the country will begin sequestration as scheduled on March 1st.
Battle is urging residents in our area to get involved and contact lawmakers - who report not getting as much feedback on the federal budget issue as they are on other topics like gun control and immigration. Battle spelled out his concerns in this letter.
"If anything is going to happen, the public has to get involved and they need to speak up
quickly," Mayor Battle wrote. "Several of the offices said it would up to the Senate to start the negotiation process to come up with a budget or even a CR. The two Senate leaders that have the might and clout to do that are Alabama’s Senator Richard Shelby and Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski."