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   MASCOUTAH, Ill. (AP) - The federal government won't make a decision for years on whether to close Scott Air Force Base, but leaders in southwest Illinois fear growing budget pressures in Washington could affect the facility's future.

   The Belleville News-Democrat reports that Illinois congressmen are working to keep the base open even though the next round of base closures won't take place until at least 2015.

   Republican U.S. Rep. John Shimkus tells the newspaper that the base's fate is at risk if Congress doesn't reform entitlement programs. Defense Department officials have said that the facility has more infrastructure than needed.

   Civilian workers at the base near Mascoutah are already scheduled to start taking 20 days of unpaid furloughs between May and September as a result of a series of automatic federal budget cuts.

 
Published in Local News

Long lines are being reported at Lambert Airport this morning due to sequestration.

What happens in the air today is being closely watched. Commercial airline flights moved smoothly throughout most of the country yesterday, the first day air traffic controllers were subject to furloughs resulting from government spending cuts.

Today is a heavier air traffic day and is seen as the first big test with the furloughs in place.

Passengers at Los Angeles International Airport met with long delays and flight cancellations yesterday - as furloughs for air traffic controllers kicked in under the federal budget "sequester." 

Here is what a Southwest Airlines ticket agent telling frustrated passengers a flight to Las Vegas was canceled."Get angry. Get irritated. It's not gonna make it good. We don't want you to be here. We didn't know this was gonna happen, trust me."

Passengers are urged to check on the status of their flight before heading to Lambert Airport on Monday.

 
Published in Around Town

Long lines are being reported at Lambert Airport this morning due to sequestration.

What happens in the air today is being closely watched. Commercial airline flights moved smoothly throughout most of the country yesterday, the first day air traffic controllers were subject to furloughs resulting from government spending cuts.

Today is a heavier air traffic day and is seen as the first big test with the furloughs in place.

Passengers at Los Angeles International Airport met with long delays and flight cancellations yesterday - as furloughs for air traffic controllers kicked in under the federal budget "sequester." 

Here is what a Southwest Airlines ticket agent telling frustrated passengers a flight to Las Vegas was canceled."Get angry. Get irritated. It's not gonna make it good. We don't want you to be here. We didn't know this was gonna happen, trust me."

Passengers are urged to check on the status of their flight before heading to Lambert Airport on Monday.

 
Published in Local News

   BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - A spokesman for the Illinois National Guard and Air National Guard says more than 1,300 of its civilian employees will be taking unpaid furloughs as part of the automatic federal spending cuts that kicked in last month.

   Capt. Dutch Grove tells the Belleville News-Democrat workers will be taking 14 days of furloughs through the end of this fiscal year. Those workers include 230 at Scott Air Force Base in southwestern Illinois.

   He says those furloughs are set to start in mid-June, but that details on how that will play out remains unclear.

   The Scott base employs almost 5,600 civilian workers. It is located near Mascoutah. Base officials say those exempted from the furloughs include firefighters and others who hold jobs are considered essential for base safety and security.

 
Published in Local News
Republican US Senator Roy Blunt stopped by our KTRS Studios this morning. Speaking with host McGraw Milhaven, Blunt says as co-chair of the Ag committee he's pushing legislation to get essential workers like food safety inspectors to show up for work.

Under sequestration, the law would change and meat inspectors would not have to show up, which Blunt says could threaten the jobs of thousands of food industry workers across the country.

Blunt says that "any furloughs or layoffs of USDA inspectors would threaten 500,000 private-sector jobs at the processing facilities. If all of the inspectors take the mandated 11 furlough days in place for many federal workers, he said the result would be a loss of $400 million on take-home pay for the workers at the processing plants.

Blunt met with the 130 employees at St. Louis' Volpi Meat Company on Monday about his push as co-chair of the Agricultre Appropriations committee to get essential workers to report to work.
Published in Local News

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