If the automatic spending cuts take effect on March 1, they will impact people who can least afford to lose income: The long term unemployed could see their checks cut up to 9 percent if sequestration kicks in.
That means laid-off certified nursing assistant Barbara Fleming would have less money to make ends meet.
“They need to add 9 percent to my check,” Fleming said. “It's not going to be good at all. Congress, they need to stop playing with President Obama and stop holding him up.”
More than two million unemployed Americans currently receive what's called emergency unemployment compensation. The labor department has notified states that the changes would have to be implemented starting next week if Congress fails to act.
Out of work HVAC technician Tarrance Johnson says the cuts would be painful.
“They can't do that,” Johnson says. “How are they going cut unemployment? It's a recession and it's hard out here. I get $79 a week. You can't survive on $79 a week in unemployment.”
Eleven thousand D.C. residents are currently on unemployment. While the D.C. Department of Employment services is trying to come up with a plan to offset the difference, it's director says many could be hard hit.
“Already, we have individuals who are really struggling even with the unemployment checks they receive right now and to see that amount decrease is going to been devastating for a lot of individuals,” Lisa Mallory, director of the D.C. Department of Employment Services.