JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The clock is ticking for Congress to find a solution to looming budget cuts expected to hit our local military community.
With Old Glory flying high outside his Ponte Vedra home, Ret. Navy Adm. Robert Natter fears the men and woman who fight for our flag and the freedom it represents are in jeopardy.
"Yes, they are going to be smaller, yes they are not going to be as capable as they were in the past,” said Natter.
The U.S. military is bracing for billions of dollars in cuts if Congress fails to agree on budget cuts by March 1. Mandatory cuts known as “sequestration” will be enacted which will affect thousands of Northeast Florida jobs and the Blue Angels Airshow in Jacksonville.
“I've never seen it this bad in my career and I’ve served for 41 years,” said Natter.
The Navy needs to slash $4.6 billion from its operation and maintenance funds if Congress fails to come to a compromise. Action News has learned more than 1,000 temporary jobs in Florida are on the line. In addition, Action News has learned more than 10,500 civilian employees at five area naval bases: Jacksonville NAS, Mayport Naval Station, Marine Corps Blount Island Command, Kings Bay Naval Base and Camp Blanding Joint Training Center – will face furloughs for 22 work days in 2013.
The White House reports, the Small Business Administration’s guaranteed loan programs could be cut by $540 million this year if sequestration isn’t averted. That would deny loans to potentially 1,100 small businesses.