Sequestration could cut Sioux Gateway's control tower - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Sequestration could cut Sioux Gateway's control tower

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© "There are flights coming in and out every 24-hour period with the control tower closed. I don't think it would impact flights coming in and out of Sioux City at all," said Bernstein. © "There are flights coming in and out every 24-hour period with the control tower closed. I don't think it would impact flights coming in and out of Sioux City at all," said Bernstein.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

Congress and President Obama have until Friday to compromise, or face $83 billion in automatic cuts from the budget.

It's called "sequestration." Congress passed the law in 2011 to motivate them to reduce $4 trillion from the deficit. It says if both parties can't agree on a plan to reach that goal, about a trillion dollars in automatic cuts will start to take effect this year.

In this first round, cuts will impact food safety, education, military readiness, and much more.

Cuts could reach Siouxland by way of the Sioux Gateway Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration says it has plans to cut about $600 million from the remainder of fiscal year 2013. It looks to slow things down in airports across the nation.

"Safety will not be compromised. But we will have to work with the airlines in slowing planes down," said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

The FAA would furlough most of its 47,000 employees one day per pay period, eliminate the overnight shift at more than 60 facilities, and close more than 100 control towers from a list of about 200.

Sioux Gateway is one of them. The airport could lose their tower, and the about 20 employees that work there. It's got local officials concerned.

"We certainly have jobs in our community that we, as an airport, would love to see maintained," said President of the Airport Board of Trustees David Bernstein.

Bernstein says customers shouldn't worry. Taking the tower away won't impact incoming and outgoing flights. He says pilots can safely take-off and land using radio signals. In fact, they already do when Sioux Gateway's tower isn't staffed. 

"Primarily overnight. There are flights coming in and out every 24-hour period with the control tower closed. I don't think it would impact flights coming in and out of Sioux City at all," said Bernstein.

In the end, the president says Congress coming together is what it'll take to keep these cuts at bay.

"These cuts do not have to happen. Congress can turn them off anytime with just little bit of compromise," said Obama in a press conference on the cuts.

While $83 billion sounds like a lot, Republicans say it's not much compared to the whole federal budget, fewer than 3%. They insist cuts that small could be accommodated but the president wants to make this a big deal and blame them.

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