skip to main content

Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

Federal Furloughs May Threaten Wildfire Response

Evening Edition

Aired 7/8/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS

Frank Hewitt is a founder of the San Diego Chapter of the National Defense Industry Association which represents the interests of the defense industry.

California National Guard Captain Will Martin

Jason is a civilian employee who does medical research for the Department of Defense, under the federal furlough his pay will be cut 20 percent over the next 11 weeks. He's asked KPBS not to use his last name because he is not authorized to speak publicly about the federal furlough.

Transcript

Thousands of civilian military workers will see their paychecks shrink by 20 percent for the next three months. Federal furloughs start this week.

It's the result of sequestration, the across-the-board budget cuts that went into effect this year after congress failed to reach an agreement on the debt limit.

The Department of Defense needs to cut $85 billion this fiscal year under sequestration. Federal furloughs are expected to save that department $1.8 billion this year.

The number of wildfires in San Diego is expected to increase as a result of climate change. In this photo, a San Diego firefighter battles flames in Tierrasanta during 2003 wildfires.
Enlarge this image

Above: The number of wildfires in San Diego is expected to increase as a result of climate change. In this photo, a San Diego firefighter battles flames in Tierrasanta during 2003 wildfires.

Some civilian military employees say the furlough is affecting their ability to pay the bills.

Jason is a civilian Department of Defense employee doing medical research in San Diego. He's asked KPBS not to use his last name because he is not authorized to speak publicly about the federal furlough. He says he had to renegotiate his car loan and credit card payment because of the furlough.

California National Guard Captain Will Martin says it's not just the National Guard employees who will be affected by the furlough.

He says the trickle down effect on all Californians is the Guards' ability to respond to wildfires and other emergencies including conducting search and rescues .

Frank Hewitt is a founder of the San Diego Chapter of the National Defense Industry Association, which represents the interests of the defense industry.

He says the military will also feel an impact from the furlough from the lack of civil service workers.

Hewitt says compacting sequestration cuts over a shorter period of time this year is having a greater impact.

"This is a 10-year event," Hewitt says. "In 2014 the budgets will be cut for 12 months. How they are going to do it remains to be seen," He says.

Comments

Avatar for user 'stubee'

stubee | July 8, 2013 at 1:56 p.m. ― 1 year, 1 month ago

Jason, this is why you need a 6-8 month liquid emergency account. You also should look for a job that doesn't depend on the military war machine. I know San Diego does not want to hear this because it is so dependent on the military.

( | suggest removal )