WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - With only three days until automatic federal budget cuts take place, the men and women at Robins Air Force Base are preparing for the worst.
The March 1st deadline is fast approaching. The $1.2 trillion in spending cuts across federal government programs will trickle down to Middle Georgia at RAFB with furloughs and loss of pay.
"What's facing us right now is Friday," RAFV Installation Commander Colonel Mitchel Butikofer said.
That deadline is looming over RAFB. The automatic spending cuts over the next 10 years would severely impact the nation's defense. An estimated $500 billion in cuts are expected. That would mean furlough days and lost pay for civilian workers at RAFB.
"It ranges the gamut from folks who work on the flight line to our folks who support our clinics and our hospitals to our civil engineering," Butikofer said. "If they're a civilian employee, there is potential they will be affected."
Butikofer says 15,000 civilian employees could face 22 furlough days from April to September this year. He estimated they will lose 20% of their salary.
"Folks are feeling some pressure. We are encouraging our folks to make plans for this potentiality here," Butikofer said.
That's why the base is offering help through the Employee Assistance Program and the Airman and Family Readiness Center.
"They're available to provide financial counseling and help folks figure out their budget and where they can maybe make some cuts and stuff to get through this," Butikolfer said. "We're here to make sure whatever comes, comes with as minimal impact as possible."
Butikolfer says those furlough days could impact how long it takes for you to get on the base. He says you could waits at the gate as long as 45 minutes to an hour.
Congress has just a few days to come up with a plan to avoid the spending cuts.