by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis
Automatic spending cuts by the Pentagon may affect a summer tradition here in Rhode Island. Congress and the White House face a huge deadline, March 1st.
It could lead to a "no show" by one of the most popular attractions of the air show. The Blue Angels have been a popular and frequent attraction at the Rhode Island Air Show.
This year they are supposed to perform on June 29th and 30th.
As of now the Rhode Island Air National Guard is planning for the "blues" to be here, but they are aware that massive federal budget cuts - including defense that could come next week - may cause the Blue Angels to cancel.
With a war still ongoing, Defense cuts have to be prioritized.
U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) said, "They are looking at tough decisions and one of those tough decisions - and they haven't made them final yet - could be curtailing activities such as the Blue Angels, etcetera. But it's not because they don't want to do it, it's because they have more pressing, frankly, needs."
More critical to Rhode Island than a Blue Angels show, are about 5 thousand military and defense contractor jobs that could be affected by the massive federal budget cuts.
Sources tell ABC6 that many of those employees could be furloughed up to 22 weeks in the next year, if the cuts happen.