As sequestration nears, federal workers brace for furloughs, vent anger at politicians…(We’re All Greeks Now!!)
By Lindsay Wise
Thursday, February 28, 2013
WASHINGTON — As a single dad with seven kids living at home, Bill Blevins is used to pinching every penny.
The 48-year-old building engineer at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing hasn’t had a cost-of-living pay raise in more than two years, even as his rent and insurance premiums went up. Now he and other federal workers in Washington and across the country are bracing for possible unpaid furloughs as part of an $85 million reduction in federal spending. Known as sequestration, the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts are scheduled to kick in unless Congress and the White House can reach a compromise by Friday.
Although Blevins doesn’t expect furloughs to hit his office right away – so far the bureau says it plans to operate as usual – the uncertainty makes him take his ulcer medicine a little more often these days.
“I’ll have to keep a bottle nearby” if furloughs hit, he joked.
“Rent’s due the first of the month whether I’m furloughed or not,” said Blevins, who commutes from his home in Culpeper, Va., to his night shift job in Washington. “You just really have to squeeze a little more out of each dollar. That’s just what it comes down to.”