Local jobs on the line without Washington deal

The clock is ticking for companies working with the federal government. It means uncertain times for Mandus Group in Rock Island. That’s hard on 45 local jobs there.

Without congressional action by March 1, drastic across the board cuts will take place. Called sequestration, the possibility is forcing local companies to brace for the worst.

“We’re trying to avert the axe because no one knows where that axe may fall,” said Sam Kupresin, vice president of business development for Mandus Group. “No one knows.”

Reasons why a congressional delegation visited Mandus Group on Tuesday. With Congress in recess, many representatives are fanning out across the country and calling for a deficit deal before it’s too late.

“This is not the way we can keep doing business in Congress,” said Rep. Cheri Bustos, (D) Illinois. “We’re going to have to do what’s best for the American people.”

They say it’s time to reach across party lines to work together to soften the harsh cuts.

President Obama says Americans have spent too much time recovering from one crisis to have politicians cause another. That impact could hit close to home.

“If sequestration were to go into effect, I’m sure it would have an affect on both the Rock Island Arsenal and the local defense contractors,” Kupresin said.

Mandus Group is just one example. Defense cuts already forced the company to slice 20 jobs last year.

“We get paid what we get paid to make good decisions, not easy decisions,” said Rep. Dave Loebsack, (D) Iowa. “And sequestration is an easy decision. It’s an across the board cut.”

But with time running out, lawmakers are literally under the gun.

“How deep the cuts and the pain would be, it’s hard to tell right now because we just don’t know,” Kupresin concluded.

Uncertain times and tough decisions for local companies and Washington lawmakers.

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