How Budget Cuts Could Affect You
Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff paint a dire picture of construction projects on hold, limits on aircraft carriers patrolling the waters and even a delay in the expansion of Arlington National Cemetery. About 800,000 Defense Department civilians face furloughs. The Pentagon will be forced to furlough for one day a week about 15,000 teachers who work at schools around the world for children of people in the military. Veterans' funerals at Arlington could be cut to 24 a day from 31. Troops killed in action in Afghanistan will be the priority; they usually are laid to rest within two weeks. Beginning in April, the Army will cancel maintenance at depots, which will force 5,000 layoffs, and it also will let go more than 3,000 temporary and contract employees. The Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy's Blue Angels will stop appearing in air shows.
There could be an estimated 2,100 fewer food safety inspections, meaning greater risks to consumers. Worker furloughs are not planned, but rather the reduction in inspections would come from cuts in travel spending. On meat inspections, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday that it will be several months before meat inspectors are furloughed and that each will likely be furloughed 11 days or 12 days, instead of 15 days as the Obama administration indicated earlier.TOURISM Visiting hours at all 398 national parks probably will be cut and sensitive areas blocked off to the public. Thousands of seasonal workers looking for jobs would not be hired, according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. He and National Park Service director Jon Jarvis said visitors would encounter locked restrooms, fewer rangers and trash cans emptied less frequently. NUCLEAR CLEANUP There could be disruption of efforts to close the radioactive waste tanks currently leaking at Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The Department of Energy estimates that it will have to eliminate $92 million for the Office of River Protection at Hanford, which will result in furloughs or layoffs impacting about 2,800 contract workers. Other high-risk sites facing work delays are the Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee, Savannah River Site in South Carolina and the Idaho National Laboratory.
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