Fearing unpaid furloughs for his staff, the president of Haskell Indian Junior College hopes Congress soon will reach a budget resolution.
In August the Bush administration ordered federal agencies to draw up plans to cut spending by 31.9 percent in the event mandatory budget cuts are required to ease the budget deficit. Cuts would take effect Oct. 15 unless Congress and the White House agree on a package of tax increases and spending reductions.
About 2.4 million federal workers nationwide have received notification that they could be placed on unpaid furlough.
Actual cutbacks will depend on congressional action between now and Oct. 1. Martin said today he is aware that Haskell employees could be affected by the budget cuts.
He said he is crossing his fingers that Congress will reach a suitable resolution.
"We wouldn't be able to continue operating," Martin said.
More than 800 students are now attending the Bureau of Indian Affairs college, and Martin said the two-year college for Native Americans would virtually shut down if it had to trim 30 percent of its staff.
Bill Reynolds, Lawrence postmaster, said he doesn't think furloughs would apply to postal employees.
"Essentially, the postal service is off budget right now, which means the changes they make in the federal budget wouldn't affect us," Reynolds said.
But he added that Congress is seeking ways to create new revenue. He said the government may consider charges against the postal service to reduce the U.S. deficit.
Reynolds said that to his knowledge, furloughs have never affected Lawrence postal employees.
"We operate independently," he explained. "We're one of few entities that provide a service to public on a daily basis."
Also unique to the postal service is that in tough financial times, its workload actually increases because businesses send out more advertising, Reynolds said.