Arsenal and Contractors Fear Sequestration Cuts - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Arsenal and Contractors Fear Sequestration Cuts

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At the Mandus Group in Rock Island, managers and their 45 employees are watching Washington, D.C. closely.

"If sequestration were to go into effect, I'm sure it would have an effect on the Rock Island Arsenal and the local defense contractors," Mandus Group VP of Business Development Sam Kupresin says.  

The Defense Department is already implementing $500 billion in cuts. 

"There are early retirements offered, new people aren't being hired; there are effects already," IA Rep. Dave Loebsack says. 

Lawmakers say sequestration would mean another $500 billion in cuts on top of that.   

"The sequestration is taking the hatchet, the ax, instead of the scalpel making educated decisions on how we're going to look at these cuts," IL Rep. Cheri Bustos says.

Those cuts would trickle down to small contractors, like the Mandus Group, which makes equipment like hydraulic repair units and nitrogen generators for the US military.

As a March first deadline to solve this problem gets closer, no one can prepare for what's coming because they don't know where exactly cuts will be made.

"We're trying to avert the axe because no one knows where it will fall," Kupresin says, "We just don't know, we hate to even speculate on it right now because we're hoping it doesn't happen." 

Once the deadline passes, each department will have until the end of the year to decide just where those cuts will fall. That's a scenario everyone hopes to avoid. 

Now Congress only has a week and half left to come up with a new plan in its place. 

"We all know we have to get the budget under control, we all know the deficit has to be reduced, and it's got to be reduced dramatically but it's got to be reduced in a smart kind of way," Rep. Loebsack says. 

"There's so much unpredictability that companies don't know what to expect next," Bustos says, "We've got to get this job done."