Federal cuts run county deep Featured

DHR Home SlideAs it turns out the Attorney General of the United States of America doesn’t have to do a thing to Montgomery County – Mick Mulvaney already took care of that.
Sessions, speaking Monday at a White House briefing urged “Sanctuary” communities to follow the law or face the loss of DOJ. grants – and hinted at other possible retributions.
County Executive Ike Leggett says Montgomery County doesn’t fall under “Sanctuary” status, but he is aware the DOJ isn’t fond of the county because leaders here do not necessarily cooperate with Homeland Security and ICE when it comes to illegal immigrants. The county will honor detainers and turn over criminal illegal immigrants, but otherwise leaves the immigrant community alone.
When a rape allegedly involving two illegal immigrants occurred recently at Rockville High School, more than 100 people came out to protest the county and the City of Rockville’s stance on illegal immigrants. Never mind the protesters didn’t exactly understand the issue, perpetual Republican gadfly Robin Ficker - fresh from his success in forcing term limits on the county and flush with the puffed up pride of a man who promised not to run for county office but had a change of heart – jumped into politicize the tragedy with his two bits.

Governor Larry Hogan tossed in his four bits and Sessions made it six bits a dollar – all for misunderstanding the issue and making politics out of it stand up and holler.
Question: If it were two white kids charged with rape . . . oh never mind.
Leggett says it amounts to saber rattling and he’s right, but the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney has already guaranteed the screws will be turned on the county – no matter how it reacts to illegal immigrants.
With a plethora of Federal Government agencies calling Montgomery County home and an investment in the county which numbers in the billions of dollars, the county has enjoyed a nearly recession-proof existence for years.
The current administration has, with Mulvaney’s budget cuts, threatened the local lifestyle. While it has nothing to do with immigration, that certainly won’t keep certain eager gadflies from saying, “I told you so. This is why we need to kick out the immigrants.”
The fear of a shrinking wallet is a powerful motivator. Hopefully a majority of voters in the county will overcome the desire to dash like lemmings into the sea of fear.
But the budget side of this story is very real. NOAA, NIH, FDA, NIST and NASA all have offices in either Prince George’s or Montgomery County.
“People are already worried,” Leggett said Tuesday. “Cuts across the board that seem minor to the entire country could have a great impact locally.”
Leggett is right. But Mulvaney’s budget isn’t just bad for Montgomery County, it could be devastating for the country.
According to Congressman Jamie Raskin’s office, the NIH is looking at a budget reduction of about 5.8 billion dollars. Part of that budget reduction includes “eliminating the Fogarty International Center.”
According to the Fogarty website, the center researches Ebola, Zika and HIV/AIDS. In addition, “These scientists, with collaborators in more than 24 countries, have produced research used to guide domestic and international policy in the development of countermeasures for potential bio-terror agents and public health measures to control the spread of infectious diseases.”
So, not only does the middle-class (what’s left of it anyway) take a hit in the county, but the worldwide effect will be fewer scientists working on the Ebola and Zika viruses and fewer people trying to find solutions to bio-terrorism.
Tuesday Spicer said government agencies should use “all available” science moving forward.
Though I tried to budge him on the issue, he never acknowledged the obvious: all available science moving forward will be sorely lacking in relevance if you cut research.
That’s the repercussion of the president’s proposed budget as presented by Mick Mulvaney.
Close to home it is even scarier – as Leggett said – with billions invested in this county any federal cuts to domestic programs will hit Montgomery and Prince George’s County hard. How hard remains to be seen, but the worrying has begun and so has the political jockeying for position as we wait for fallout.
There is some push back on The Hill, but for the thousands of residents who live in Maryland and work for the federal government, the next few months are going to be dominated by angst as Congress tries to wrangle with a federal budget that has the potential of devastating the local economy.



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