by Ed Enoch
U.S. Rep. Martha Roby said Thursday she is unsure whether congressional leaders and the president can agree on a deal to avoid automatic federal spending cuts set to take effect next week.
"I don't know what is going to happen," Roby said during a visit to Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base. "I would like to say that there is a solution."
Roby, R-Montgomery, spent about an hour and a half on the post Thursday afternoon to learn more about the airbase's missions and needs. Roby said she was concerned about the impact the automatic cuts, known as the sequester, could have on base operations. The Department of Defense announced Wednesday it would furlough approximately 800,000 civilian employees as a way to offset potential cuts to defense spending.
Roby said she worries the airbase's military staff would be left to cover the duties of the furloughed employees. Roby, who was touring her district during the House recess this week, said military personnel had voiced concerns about the potential cuts.
Base spokesman Phil Berube said there are approximately 3,000 appropriated-fund civilian employees on the post that could be affected by the proposed furloughs, which could begin in April.
Standing in front of the base's visitor center, Roby restated her opposition to the sequester and advocated for replacing the across-the-board cuts with targeted budget cuts, noting the House efforts to find alternative ways to reduce spending and the deficit.
To avoid sequestration, President Barack Obama has called for a compromise that combines spending cuts and revenue increases.
"People in Alabama's 2nd District get we have a spending problem not a revenue problem," Roby said.
Roby has maintained the president is using the sequester as leverage for tax increases.
"It's about tax increases for this president, and we can't tax our way out of this," Roby said.