From the Huntsville Times--
By Lee Roop
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - More than 1,300 aerospace jobs will be at risk in Huntsville in 2013 if the national budget goes over the so-called "fiscal cliff," according to an aerospace industry study released Thursday.
None of those jobs would be NASA civil servants, who are protected by federal law from layoffs in 2013, the study's sponsors said. Civil servants might, however, face furloughs.
Instead, the job losses would be borne by contractors, sub-contractors and businesses providing goods and services to the Marshall Space Flight Center and its employees, according to the study released by the Aerospace Industries Association in Washington, D.C.. It was conducted by Dr. Stephen S. Fuller, a professor and analyst at George Mason University.
Cuts of that magnitude would chop Marshall's contractor workforce by more than a third as the center tries to build a new heavy-lift rocket to take astronauts to Mars. Marshall, with a $2.5 billion annual budget, employs about 6,000 people broken into 2,400 civil service employees and 3,600 contractor employees. According to the study, the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 exempted NASA civil servants from any job losses through fiscal year 2013.
U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, said Thursday night that the job losses forecast "are consistent with (predictions) we saw on the defense side." Brooks said, "I'm not happy about it," but there is little Congress can do until President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner reach an agreement to stop it. He predicted that nothing will happen until "right before the new year."