F.E. Warren Air Force Base officials say more than 700 civilian base workers will each lose about $8,000 in pay every year if across-the-board federal budget cuts trigger March 1.

The Department of Defense announced 800,000 in total potential furloughs Wednesday if Congress and President Barack Obama are unable to avert the $1.2 trillion in cuts, known as the "sequester."

The 700 military technicians in the Wyoming National Guard would also be subject to the furloughs, but officials are still unsure how many will have their hours cut, said Deidre Forster, public affairs officer for the Wyoming Military Department.

Defense officials said they would continue the furloughs for a decade to help cover $500 billion in defense budget reductions outlined in the plan. Officials at Cheyenne-based F.E. Warren said its civilian employees would lose more than $58 million in salaries over the decade.

F.E. Warren employs more than 800 civilian workers at any given time. Many would be subject to a one- or two-day furlough for each monthly pay period, under the Defense Department's plans. The furloughs would have a $5.4 million fiscal impact on Wyoming in fiscal year 2013, said Elizabeth Robbins, press officer for the Department of Defense.

“That’s money that won’t be spent in Wyoming,” said Cody Hawkins, 90th Missile Wing public affairs officer at the base.

If the cuts go into effect, the furloughs would begin as early as April 25, Robbins said. No combat troops or foreign nationals will be affected by the furloughs.

The furloughs will leave the base without key personnel at all times, Hawkins said. Those who maintain tanks, aircrafts and ships will be affected along with medical personnel and other positions.

“In some positions we’re only one person deep,” Hawkins said. “So jobs will have to wait.”

The furloughs will also affect employees of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration, said Dan Stohr, spokesman for the Aerospace Industries Association, a defense industry lobbying group.

There will be less air traffic controllers and security officials working at any given time, causing longer waits at tarmacs and longer security lines, Stohr said.

“You’ll see the impacts really ramping up during summer travel season,” he said.

The sequester is not the only weight hanging on the shoulders of the Pentagon. An additional $487 billion in 10-year budget cuts began in 2011, which led to a hiring freeze and layoffs among other reductions.

On top of that is the continuing resolution, an informal budget that is set to expire March 27. The resolution forbids the military from renewing or procuring maintenance and equipment contracts. If a ship, aircraft or tank becomes disabled, the military would not be able to hire a contractor to fix or replace the machines. If Congress fails to pass a budget and renews the resolution, spending will remain at 2012 levels for all non-combat operations. No new contracts would be awarded.

Meanwhile, the sequester would save the Department of Defense $5 billion in fiscal year 2013. Opponents say the cuts will cost the nation $2 million jobs and new revenue, Stohr said.

The draconian cuts outlined in the sequester were intended to encourage Congress to work out a better deal to reduce the nation’s debt and deficit. Lawmakers in Washington have had more than two years to develop a solution.

“Everybody on Capitol Hill knows it is bad policy,” Stohr said. “But they just can’t come to a consensus.”

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., wants to see the cuts done differently, but doubts it will happen. He and the rest of the Wyoming congressional delegation believe the sequester will occur.

“Washington’s inaction on the sequester is creating uncertainty for many military families in Wyoming and across the country,” Barrasso said in a statement to the Star-Tribune. “Instead of gutting our defense and proposing another round of tax increases on hardworking Americans, President Obama must work with Republicans to replace the sequester with responsible budget cuts.”

The president met with Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday, but little was said to the media about the closed-door meeting.

Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., has little hope Congress will find a solution with seven days remaining.

“If sequestration goes into effect, then I will evaluate the competing demands of the military, federal funding for parks and otherwise vs. the fiscal and moral crisis that is our $16 trillion dollar debt,” she said in a statement to the Star-Tribune.

In the short term, the sequester won't do anything to ease the burden on the nation’s debt and deficit, Stohr said.

“It puts people out of work,” he said. “That doesn’t cut the deficit.”

The cuts, along with the furloughs, could put more people in need of government assistance and could take a bite out of the nation’s tax revenues, Stohr said.

“The impact of this is going to be amazing,” he said.

(16) comments

ozwald

I hope the so called sequester goes into full force , and tons of goverment jobs that were created to give someone a job go away . It would be wonderful if the spending cuts crept all the way to the pay checks of congress , and the house . This is a drop in the bucket to what needs to be done to the fed , and its out of control spending . The extension of welfare , and , unemployment benefits need the axe , along with welfare that props up lazy people . I am tired of working myself , however , I will work for any wage period . Sorry everyone , I have got to go ...... I am putting on my long johns , extra socks , two shirts , and a heavy coat . I have got to work here shortly . I will be out in this weather . Some one needs to pay taxes so others can sit at home and collect checks and keep the debt out of hand ........

brianvmax

As they say, whenever you rob peter to pay paul the govt will always have pauls support!

supercalifragilistic

This is the very same deal Obama cut with Republicans back in late December, As Obama threatened to veto anything else. .Obama proposed to make cuts his way, to avoid the so-called-fiscal-cliff.
Now its a terrible deal? That $78billion needs to be cut out of a $3trillion budget.
Here's the figure to view.
$78,000,000,000.00 out of $3,000,000,000,000.00
or
$3,000,000,000,000.00
--- $78,000,000,000.00 =
$2,922,000,000,000.00 ----> that's not a lot of cutting to do in the first place.

Jackalope

Those pay cuts, 20% for civilian employees at F. E. Warren AFB, mean fewer people at Walmart for some time to come. Then it will be appropriate to put some more people on the unemployment list. Great prospects for everyone in Cheyenne. The debt will be controlled.

supercalifragilistic

Be sure you mention that out of politics the threat is there. But, in reality, it up to the administration to budget - that means cut the waste. As everyone know to this very day that there is still lots of waste in government.
I'm sure $78billion won't even come close to eliminating a lot of that waste. As more whistle blowers will come forth and we'll all continue to shake our heads.

WyoJeff
WyoJeff

The Sequester was Obama's plan and he has not worked on the this issue sense he came up with it. I guess he had better things to do like golfing with Tiger. But he sure is quick to blame the Republicans for his lack of leadership.

side oiler
side oiler

Obama's lack of leadership? Well,I have to agree somewhat on that,but the Repubs sure haven't shown ANY at a;ll the last 4+ years.

supercalifragilistic

All branches of the government we democrat control then from 2011 till now, two thirds or 2/3 of the government is still run by the liberal democrats. So yes, I'd agree with that statement that the past four years we've seen a lack of leadership.

rigrat
rigrat

The point oiler is making is the Republicans have done nothing but obstruct the last four years and have shown absolutely NO leadership. You can spin it all you want,facts are facts.

Jackalope

www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/feb/12/marco-rubio/marco-rubio-says-sequester-was-obamas-idea/ Pointing fingers is not a substitute for facts about the effects of the sequestration upon Wyoming; however, it should be done with some care......lest it reflect upon one's competence to comment on anything.

supercalifragilistic

I don't know about anyone else but, $78billion as I'd pointed out is nothing when compared to a $3trillion budget. Not even a 2% cut --- where Wyoming is faced with a potential 8% cut in State spending.

Pops

'Sequester' is comparable to a seven year old threatening to take his ball and go home. "I'm not going to play your game if I don't get my way!"

supercalifragilistic

Good point pops, just as the way Obama is handling this. After, he threatened to veto anything else except his proposal which he got by the 113th Congress, Just to complain he doesn't like his own Congressional approved budget.

jc45

This is the same old story, both sides saying that the other side won't compromise by doing everything our way, and then going on vacation.

supercalifragilistic

Problem this time ... Obama submitted this legislation - turn law that Obama doesn't like now.

Pops

More of the do-nothing congress kicking the can down the road.

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