Fireworks, not flying, over sequester cuts

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Federal sequester cuts mean billions of dollars less toward biomedical research, fewer active duty military, and hits to social assistance programs.  But this week, some are adding a new gripe to the sequester impacts list:  fewer fireworks in the sky over some military bases.

According to Jennifer Kerr of the Associated Press, Independence Day celebrations have been cancelled at bases throughout the nation due to the “failure in Washington to follow up a 2011 budget pact with additional spending cuts”.  

Such bases include Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, New Jersey’s Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune, and the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia.

Fourth of July fireworks displays aren’t cheap: last year’s at Camp Lejeune cost $100,000, including about $25,000 for fireworks.  The greatest issue is paying overtime staff for security, transportation, logistics and safety, and when weighting priorities, base officials couldn’t justify paying overtime when federal workers are losing pay while furloughed.

There are plenty of other ways to celebrate the day, and these bases are hosting other daytime festivities instead.