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Sequester Felt By U.S. Attorneys [AUDIO]

New Jersey’s chief federal law enforcement officer is expressing deep concern over the set of automatic spending cuts that began rolling out this month.

At a press conference in his Newark office on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman said the threat of the sequester can already be felt in his department.

Paul Fishman
U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman (Townsquare Media)

“Every employee of every U.S. Attorney’s office in the country has received a notice that they could be furloughed for up to 14 days between the middle of April and the end of September,” Fishman said.

While no firm guidance has been given as to who would be furloughed, Fishman said there is a sense of uncertainty that is killing morale in the workplace.

“There are people in this office, maybe lawyers and certainly the support staff, who may be living paycheck to paycheck,” Fishman added.

The Newark office is down ten lawyers as is, which Fishman said is affecting the number of cases that can be handled.

The Department of Justice already has travel restrictions and conference restrictions in place.

Citing the Par Pharmaceutical case that brought millions of dollars back to the federal government, Fishman said Offices of the United States Attorneys should not be targeted first for cuts. He said the Par payout was more than the budget of his office for one year.

Earlier this week, Governor Chris Christie said the sequester situation should not have much of an effect on the state of New Jersey. The cuts, put into law by the Budget Control Act, total $43 billion in a $3.6 trillion federal budget.

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