Lack of common ground as mandatory budget cuts loom

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — From the “fiscal cliff” to sequestration, Congress continues to fail to find compromise. 

Another significant economic deadline looms on Friday. The sequester, as it is called, refers to massive across-the-board spending cuts; $85 billion just this year, and close to one trillion over the next ten.

From Springfield to the White House and beyond, everyone will be impacted in some way. In Massachusetts, teachers and schools could lose close to $14 million in funding this year and $4 million to ensure clean water and air quality.  Massachusetts will also face more than $50 million in military cuts. 

Congressman Richard Neal (D-Springfield) told 22News that what's missing on Capitol Hill is a sense of what common ground really is.

"One of the biggest problems you have today in this debate is people see compromise as surrender,” Neal said.

He said that he would like to see the sequester avoided, but thinks it is looking more likely that the cuts will come.

“My sense is now it is likely to go into effect. I think we would be better off punting, letting this go forward for a couple of months; the economy is getting better on the edges and I don't think we want to do anything, what sequestration could conceivably do it is slow even the marginal growth we've been witnessing,” Neal said.

The deadline to strike a deal to avoid these spending cuts is Friday March 1st.

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