HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT)-Starting next week, roughly 15,000 local civilian defense workers will be staying home from work one day a week due to mandated federal furloughs. And north Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks says he isn't optimistic about a last-minute deal being struck in Washington.
Rep. Brooks (R-Huntsville) said the sequestration ball is now squarely in President Obama's court. According to Brooks, the U.S. House has already done all it can do by passing a series of bills that would cancel the furloughs, which could have a significant impact locally.
"I would not rule out anything, but I wouldn't be optimistic in this particular instance either."
Congressman Brooks told WHNT News 19 that the scheduled furloughs are ludicrous, dangerous and entirely avoidable.
"I have voted to eliminate sequestration and its adverse effect on our national security," said Brooks. "The United States Congress has passed legislation that defers this decision to the president...Unfortunately, the president and the White House have decided that furloughing American citizens that are producing so much for our defense efforts, that's who they're targeting."
Rep. Brooks said the sequestration impasse continues to be over where federal spending should be cut. He and other House Republicans say the $1.8 billion cut should instead come out of entitlement programs that make up a much bigger portion of the federal budget, a move President Obama has rejected so far.
On Monday, a coalition of federal worker unions launched a last-minute campaign to try and stop the Pentagon from implementing the furloughs, which amount to a twenty percent pay cut for most civilian defense workers.
The eleven furlough days are projected to save the Defense Department around $1.8 billion. That's approximately just over one-tenth of one percent of the overall federal budget deficit this fiscal year, which is estimated to be nearly $1 trillion.