The countdown is on.
The deadline for immediate and deep federal cuts is March 1 - next Friday. Already the real cost of its implementation is starting to be felt. "Sequester" is a word being tossed around as a game piece by political leaders, but we are now starting to see the real impact these mandatory cuts will have, especially in Virginia.
It has been tough for the five thousand people working at BAE shipyards across the country, including the 15 hundred in Virginia.
"I got one when I got off work and I got one this morning when I got to work," said contractors leaving the shipyard in Norfolk.
Workers are BAE have started receiving warn notices, telling them to prepare for the possibility that their job could be on the line if Congress and President Obama can't strike deal.
"You know if they take this away, a lot of people are gonna be hurt," a contractor outside of the shipyard remarked.
BAE is a private company, but with plenty of government business. Meanwhile government employees like Social Security worker David Schagel are preparing for a different future.
"We'd have one day at without pay and work and service to the public every week for the rest of the fiscal year." He said.
That equates to 1/5th of David's yearly salary. He is not alone. In addition to federal worker furloughs
• 1,000 border patrol and FBI agents could lose their job
• 31,000 teachers could be laid off
• 600,000 needy families will be dropped from the WIC program.
• 1.4 million jobs could be cut from private companies.
Even those workers in danger, know cuts are necessary.
"There's some guys here that are very skilled and there's probably some excess in here that can go too," said Tyler Willis, a BAE Systems Machinist.
But there widespread agreement that cutting in this hap hazard way will only make things worse. And with all this on the line, the negotiating is not being done behind closed doors but in public speeches.
Next week, President Obama comes to Newport News, where many of those jobs are on the line. At this point, there are no plans to huddle with congressional leaders to hatch out a deal.
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