LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Southland schools, defense contractors, and the sluggish economic recovery in California could be among those hardest hit if Congress fails to stop automatic budget cuts from taking effect on Friday.

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KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports several local agencies are already preparing for less money from the federal government.

The Los Angeles Unified School District said it could lose about $37 million – roughly 5 percent of its federal funding – unless Senate Democrats and Republicans can pass one of two separate bills expected to be introduced before the deadline.

Pentagon spending reductions would being furloughs to about 64,000 civilian defense employees in California, which Jill Schlesinger, Editor-at-Large for CBS MoneyWatch, said will likely result in pay cuts as well.

“They’re gonna be working less, and that’s gonna affect them,” said Schlesinger. “Obviously, if you make 20 percent less for seven months, that’s gonna affect your family’s budget.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is also planning furloughs for air traffic controllers and security screeners – although delay might not impact operations for another few months – and some local airports including El Monte, Riverside, Victorville, Palmdale, Oxnard, Santa Monica and Lancaster could be closed.

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President Obama has called for closing tax loopholes in addition to some spending cuts, but Republican leaders said taxes were raised in January during the so-called “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

Congressional Republicans also claim the White House is using scare tactics and that any impact from the cuts won’t be as the President has suggested.

As for the American public, a recent survey found that while most are aware of the sequestration threat, only 30 percent believe the cuts will make a “major” impact on their personal finances.

But it’s the state’s economic recovery that might be the most adversely affected, according to Jason Sisney at the California Legislative Analyst Office.

“We were looking at growth in our economy, around 2 percent this year,” Sisney said. “The sequestration cuts could slow that by four-tenths or five-tenths of a percentage point.”

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