SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - In less than two weeks Utah soldiers could be feeling the pinch from Uncle Sam. Federal budget cuts are expected to pull millions of dollars from Utah Army stations and employees.
"It could have a pervasive effect if it does go through," said Lt. Col. Hank McIntire, Utah National Guard.
Lt. Col. McIntire is talking about a series of federal budget cuts called "sequestration". They're expected to have a big impact on the Army in Utah.
"We could be dealing with less funding, a lower budget, and ability to provide fewer services. Possibly people could get furloughed, which is your off work and you're not getting paid," said Lt. Col. McIntire.
ABC 4 is told if Congress doesn't stop the sequestration by March 1st, the U.S. Army loses $15 billion in federal funding. Utah will lose $73 million, affecting 1,557 Utah Army jobs.
"We're preparing for both scenarios, either business as usual come March 1st or if sequestration does go through we'll have to make some tough decisions," said Lt. Col. McIntire.
President Obama is urging lawmakers to not put the Army in this position.
"These cuts are not smart, they're not fair, they will hurt our economy and add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the umemployment lines. This is not an abstraction, people will lose their jobs," said President Obama.
If the sequestration does happen, Lt. Col. McIntire said the Army won't be the same when it's over.
"Ultimately it's going to affect our service members and the services we provide," said Lt. Col. McIntire.
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