MEDFORD, Ore. — Politicians in Washington are facing a deadline for what’s being called the government sequester. If a deal isn’t reached by March 1st, massive spending cuts kick in.
The sequester was originally intended as an incentive for Congress to trim almost $1.5 trillion in spending over the next decade. If Congress can’t come to an agreement there will be evenly-split cuts to almost all non-mandatory domestic and defense programs.
Senator Ron Wyden, chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, argues that some of the cuts that would hit the hardest here in Southern Oregon are those to forestry and national parks. He says he is most concerned about budget cuts affecting the managed thinning of forests, which he says are important in preventing forest fires.
In addition to the physical danger, Wyden says that cuts in forest management would also have an economic impact from lost jobs. National parks, such as Crater Lake and Oregon Caves, are also preparing for the hit. They were required to submit contingency plans outlining cuts to service, which are still being reviewed at the federal level.
As far as the likelihood of the sequester is concerned, Senator Wyden says that deals often come in the last minute, but he says that is hardly the best scenario.