Sequestration 2013: Lawmakers to meet on Capitol Hill to discuss impact

      Lawmakers will meet on Capitol Hill Thursday morning to discuss the impact of sequestration on middle class families and small businesses.

      Sequestration will affect us all in some way, shape or form. There is a growing ripple effect to the economy, especially in our region, if a deal is not reached between the White House and Congress soon.

      Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday the vast majority of the Defense Department’s 800,000 workers would be furloughed one day a week for up to 22 weeks. Virginia and Maryland are two of five states expected to be hit the hardest, meaning less money will be spent on our local economies.

      At the Tortoise and Hare in Crystal City, owner Brian Montgomery says he gets a lot of business from people who stay at nearby hotels on government-related business.

      “During that time they’ll be in two, three times a week or more,” he says.

      But if across-the-board spending cuts go through, he’s worried what the impact will be on small businesses like his.

      “Now they either won’t be coming into town or they’ll be a little bit more frugal when they’re here,” he says.

      The Defense Department Tuesday announced a furlough plan that would hit our region harder than anywhere else. Along with the rest of the federal cuts, it could have a devastating impact on the D.C.-area’s economy.

      “It’s going to have a big impact on travel,” says John Townsend with AAA, who says less passengers will use local airports.

      It would also hurt car travel that’s already being affected by high gas prices. He says some local residents are scared to book trips for the summer.

      “They’re staying put,” he says. “They’re not doing anything. They’re going to try to wait this out.”

      Townsend says if the cuts go through, many likely won’t be taking a vacation this year.

      “If your salary is cut, then you’re not going to travel.”