HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Those automatic budget cuts, better known as sequestration officially began just after 7:30 p.m. March 1st. President Obama signed an executive order to begin spending cuts. We've be telling you for weeks now what impact those cuts could have on those of us who live in the Tennessee Valley. But will the people we elected and sent to Washington be able to do something before those cuts hit our wallets?
You're probably as sick of hearing about it and we are talking about it. But time has run out. The question now is what do we do to fix the problem? I sat down with Alabama congressman Mo Brooks who told me the situation could have been avoided months ago.
“We`re paid to do a job. We`re elected to do a job. We signed up to do a job and the people`s business is in Washington so we should be in Washington,” Brooks told me after flying to Huntsville. He didn’t want to come home for the weekend. Wednesday, he called for the house to stay in session until sequestration could be solved. It didn’t happen. Brooks told me, “If we take full weeks off in recess and the house and senate both have at least two weeks off for recess in March and April while people around the country are having to work through the ordeal of sequestration, that`s not right.”
But right or not, budget cuts are on the way. The white house and congress aren`t seeing eye to eye. “I think what you`re seeing are very serious public policy differences for example, we here in the Tennessee valley and many parts of the country, we see sequestration as a problem that must be fixed,” says Brooks. But he also believes some in congress and the president see sequestration as a solution.
“Hopefully, someone will be talking with the president of the United States and try to convince him that he needs to keep his word,” Brooks continued. “He promised the American people that there would not be sequestration. At the time that he made that promise, he knew what he needed to do to prevent sequestration from happening and he’s refused to do it.”
So what does Congressman Brooks say to the men and women in his district who in the next few weeks or months face the possibility of losing 20 percent of their paycheck if nothing is done? “Words don`t express the sorrow that I feel for the circumstances of so many people, particularly those who are federal government employees or who are servicing the needs of the federal government in the contracting sector. This should not happen,” he said.
Brooks says several of his family members could feel the effects of those budget cuts. He has a son who works for NASA and another who works for a defense contractor. The congressman plans to return to Washington Sunday where he hopes a compromise will soon be worked out to minimize those cuts.