Maine defense workers, contractors brace for government cuts

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February 21, 2013, 6:19 pm
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(NECN: Marnie MacLean) - Washington D.C. is a long way from the gates of Bath Iron Works in Maine, but what happens - or doesn't happen - there could have a big impact on the people who work at the shipyard.

Congress has failed to pass a full year defense funding bill, and the looming threat of $85 billion in across the board cuts, called sequestration, is now less than two weeks away on March 1.

Maine Senator Susan Collins and Senator Angus King toured Bath Iron Works and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard today, both of which could be heavily impacted by sequestration.

The Pentagon says Maine could face about $41 million in defense civilian payroll cuts. Both Senators said the failure of Congress to act on these important matters is a disgrace to the American people.

"The enemy is absolutism, the enemy is people who say my way or the highway," Senator King said.

With the threat of sequestration and massive cuts looming, some workers at Bath Iron Works are already feeling the impact. Members of one union that represents designers and engineers says some workers have already been asked to take unpaid days off.

Long term, under sequestration, more workers could be impacted if the Navy fails to award new ship building contracts.

Senator Collins says it's time to stop for people in Congress to stop playing the blame game and start negotiating.

Tags: maine, Washington DC, Susan Collins, Marnie MacLean, Bath Iron Works, Angus King, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, defense cuts, sequestration
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