WOODLAWN, MD — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, today held a town hall with employees at the Social Security Administration (SSA) headquarters in Baltimore County. The visit continues the Senator’s periodic visits to federal facilities to discuss the looming threat of sequestration and the latest federal budget battles with federal workers. The SSA headquarters complex employs more than 12,000 federal workers who administer Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits.
On March 1, sequestration – automatic, across-the-board spending cuts – will begin to take effect. Unless Congress acts, sequestration requires $42.7 billion in cuts to defense programs and another $42.7 billion in cuts to non-defense programs over the next year. Maryland is home to 60 non-military federal facilities and 17 military facilities, and more than 300,000 Marylanders work for the federal government in both civilian and military jobs.
Cuts of this magnitude will have a profound effect on Maryland and our entire nation. The Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates projects that sequestration could mean a loss of 12,600 jobs resulting in a reduction of Maryland’s wage and salary base by $2.5 billion.
“Unfortunately, I am not optimistic that Congress will act by March 1st to avoid sequestration and cuts of this magnitude will have a profound effect on Maryland and our entire nation. I believe the federal workers at the Social Security Administration are among the most dedicated, and sequestration will have a very serious effect on Americans who depend on the Social Security Administration. It is very likely that sequestration will result in furloughs, which will mean longer wait times for Americans in having benefits processed and questions answered,” said Senator Cardin.
If sequestration occurs, Senator Cardin estimates that for the SSA it could mean:
- The loss of more than 5,000 SSA employees in FY 2013 through attrition that would not be replaced;
- The termination of more than 1,500 temporary employees and reemployment annuitants; and,
- The elimination of overtime except for life, safety and health concerns.
“While I am not optimistic that sequestration can be avoided, I am working with my colleagues to do all I can to prevent it. We need approximately $1.4 trillion in deficit reduction, which I believe is achievable through a balanced approach that includes both increased revenues and decreased spending. Furloughing federal workers and across-the-board spending cuts do not make a lot of sense and will serve to jeopardize our economic recovery,” said Senator Cardin.