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Maine's Senators Warn Of Sequestration's Consequences At Naval Yard

Two Senators warned  of what they call “horrendous”  consequences for the workers and projects at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, if Department of Defense funds are sequestered.Republican Susan Collins, who championed the yard during the 2005 base closure process, says that, under sequestration, the 4500 yard workers would each face 22 furlough days through September.  The withholding of funds is a possibility if Congress doesn’t reach spending and budget cutting agreement.  Collins joined fellow Maine Senator Angus King, an independent, for a tour of the yard, then spoke to reporters.  She says that sequestration would have severe impacts on the workers and their families.

It causes submarines not to be returned to the fleet as quickly....It’s going to actually increase costs in the long run, and the ripple effect is terrible.

One of those ripple effects, she says, is the likely deferral or cancellation of repairs on the fire damaged USS Miami, now at the Yard.  Worker John Joyal of Somersworth, says that his loss in pay would amount to some $1200 monthly.

People are worried.  They’re worried about how they’re going to pay their bills.  We’ve got new people here.  They’re worried about their futures.  If they’re going to be sent home, if they’re going to be able to stay.

King, newly elected to the Senate, is member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  He says that the unanimously passed Defense Appropriations bill would deal with the budget shortfalls, if it goes to the full Senate.  Collins is a Senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee.

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