Western Mass reacts to sweeping budget cuts - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Western Mass reacts to sweeping budget cuts

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

The budget cuts known as the sequester will slash $85 billion from federal programs and will have impacts on Western Mass, especially when it comes to defense spending and social service programs.

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-MA, tells CBS 3 Springfield Western Mass residents need to brace for the impact of the sweeping cuts that have already been signed in to order.

"It's going to be felt. I think people need to be realistic about it, it might be something people feel tomorrow or next week, but surely if this were to roll on well into April, May or June, you would feel the reaction," he said.

The congressman was in CBS 3 studios to talk about the sequester, saying the negotiations in Washington have been empty and filled with volatile language.

They're the same frustrations that are now echoing throughout Western Mass.

"Everyone wants to blame it on the president, or the Democrats, or the Republicans, it's both of them, it's not having that ability to reach some sort of compromise," said Adam Pop, of Holyoke.

Lawmakers had a year and a half to review the extensive budget cuts that will effect everything from furloughs at Westover Air Reserve Base to cuts in funding for social welfare programs.

While some Western Mass residents wanted a deal, others say something has to give.

"This is inevitable, it has to happen, and hopefully look for better days a couple years from now when things start picking up again, and hopefully we learn a couple lessons by then," said Pari Hoxha, of Southwick.

Neal says lawmakers will continue to work to strike a deal, but this is the first time in his decades-long career on Capitol Hill that he's seen such an impasse.

"This is really the first time in my years in the Congress that these sorts of issues have played out the way they have," he said.

Neal says he thinks there is still hope for a compromise on March 27 when lawmakers must come up with a continuing resolution that would provide money to the government for much of the rest of the year.

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