WASHINGTON—Congress heads back to work Monday and we’ll soon find out if they can come up with a compromise to avoid drastic budget cuts.
If Congress can’t find a better way to cut $85 billion from the budget by the end of the week, drastic, automatic cuts kick in.
The Transportation Department warns that it would have to furlough hundreds of air traffic controllers if the cuts go into effect.
Ray Lahood, Secretary of Transportation, said, “Safety will not be compromised but we will have to work with the airlines in slowing planes down.”
President Obama reminded governors last night that this is not their first fiscal crisis.
He said, “All of you have helped to steer your states through some of the nation’s toughest times. You’ve had to make hard choices.”
Okla. Gov. Mary Fallin said, “The uncertainty of sequestration is really harming our states and our national economy.”
The White House says there’s more to come as 10,000 teachers could lose their jobs as food safety inspections would be scaled back.
Colo. Gov. John Hickenlooper said, “This is something that nobody wants. It’s not a balanced, thoughtful compromise.”
However, some Republicans say the White House is exaggerating and the cuts are necessary.
Sen. Tom Coburn, (R) Oklahoma, said, “Not cut 2.5 percent out of the total budget over a year when it’s twice the size it was 10 years ago? Give me a break.”
While the cuts will be painful for many Americans, some analysts think Republicans have the most to lose.
John Harwood, CNBC chief Washington correspondent, said, “The more people see services disrupted, just as you would in a government shutdown which is more dramatic, the more likely it is you’ll get Republicans to bend.”
With just four days until the deadline, it does not seem that a serious compromise is in the works.