Looming budget cuts expected to slam local military, economy

Looming budget cuts expected to slam local military, economy
BREMERTON, Wash. - Automatic federal spending cuts will take effect if Friday's deadline passes without a resolution - and those $85 billion in cuts are expected to hit Puget Sound's military and economy hard.

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton is one place where the budget ax is going to cut deeply - and the effects will be felt far beyond the military.

Thousands of civilian employees work at the shipyard doing vital maintenance and repair work on Navy ships, and many of them will be furloughed under the cuts, resulting in loss of pay and a hit to the local economy.

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., will arrive at the shipyard Friday to talk to workers showing up to work and answer their questions about how the coming budget cuts will effect them.

Other Puget Sound military installations also are bracing for the cuts, including Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

"I think Congress is to blame for this - this is one of those self-imposed crises," says Rep. Kilmer. "We've gone beyond the fiscal cliff to the fiscal mountain range."

Here's a breakdown of what the White House says those automatic budget cuts will mean for local military bases:

• 29,000 civilian employees of the military will be furloughed, taking over $173 million in pay out of our economy.

• $124 million in cuts to the Army are expected at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

• Air Force operations will take a $3 million hit.

• According to the Obama administration, cuts will also come to Navy aircraft maintenance work done at Whidbey Island.