Officer Dave Nichols, who patrols Washington's monuments on horseback, said furloughs will cost him $5,000. Among his biggest concerns about losing pay is his wife, a teacher in Calvert County and two-time breast cancer survivor. He worries about another health scare. The couple are reassessing whether they can afford the family's annual North Carolina beach vacation this year and still set aside money for their daughters' college fund.
"It's extremely surprising to me that the officers who patrol the major parkways and national icons downtown are not considered essential during this sequestration," Nichols said. "When you go into law enforcement, it's drilled into you that you're an essential employee."
National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said he's not happy with the inequity, either.
"If we could, we would spread their budget cut across the Park Service," he said in a statement. "We can't do that."