Budget cuts affect Fort Bliss

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 2:24pm

Texas is expected to be hit hard by forced budget cuts that went into effect Friday.

85-billion dollars will be trimmed from federal budgets over the next seven months, much of it from defense spending.

"We don't really have a solid number right now. it's safe to say that the majority, the overwhelming majority of our civilians will be impacted by the furlough."

That's Fort Bliss' biggest immediate concern.

Most of their 11,000 civilian employees will take a 20 percent pay cut starting April 21 until the end of September.

Soldiers on post will see a different sort of impact.

"I think what you'll see is longer lines at the pharmacy, longer waits for an appointment, potentially longer lines at some of our other locations."

Some things on post won't be affected at all, like the commissary because those workers are funded by the goods that they sell.

Schools on post will also see no impact.

"We've submitted exemptions, we're pending those exemptions to come back for civilians that work in the emergency room for example, healthcare providers, things like that."

It's unclear how the furloughs will be implemented just yet.

"Within the next week, or two weeks, we'd like to have a solid understanding of where these exemptions are allocated."

Another foresight:

"I think there will be an impact on training in the coming months."

However, units deploying to Afghanistan will not be touched.

Only time will tell how the spending cuts will impact the local area...

But team Bliss is hoping for the best.

"We certainly want the best quality of life for our civilians. they contribute to everything that we do on team Bliss. everything we do for el Paso and for our soldiers. and that's a big pay cut to absorb really for anybody. that would be large pay cut for any of us to absorb.
 

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