Scientific projects would be delayed at the National Institutes of Health, where research awards would be scaled back and several thousand people could lose their jobs. Across Maryland, Virginia and the District, job-search assistance would be cut, potentially leaving more than 33,000 people without such help.
The White House analysis came as part of a final campaign by the Obama administration to spotlight the fallout of the across-the-board spending cuts, set to start Friday. The administration hopes that a clear picture of the impact on popular programs — and on jobs in every state — will pressure congressional Republicans to forge a deal to stop the sequestration.
The cuts in federal spending would affect the Washington economy in multiple ways, including potential job growth, said economist Anirban Basu of Sage Policy Group in Baltimore.
“If this is a big deal nationally, it’s a bigger deal in the Washington metropolitan area,” Basu said, noting that Virginia, Maryland and the District are “among the most reliant communities in the nation on federal spending.”
There was little sign Sunday that the standoff would end, and many Democrats and Republicans were looking toward late March, when another deadline comes.
The White House estimates came as political tension ratcheted up and local officials spoke out.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) pledged on national television to work together to persuade Congress to head off the worst of the sequester cuts that would affect the defense industry in their states.
“On both sides of the Potomac, we sit in the middle of a corridor of science and security, and this sequester stands to wipe out a lot of hard-fought job gains in Virginia and in Maryland,” O’Malley said during an appearance on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.”
He said the cuts would “hurt a lot of moms and dads in our region who go to work every day, working in places like NIH and NSA, and also the people that work in the private sectors that support our federal government in these important missions.”
“So both of us hope that Congress will come together and find a way to avoid the sequester,” he said.
McDonnell, who appeared on the program with O’Malley and two other governors, said the sequester “was put in place to be a hammer, not a policy.”