National and World News

Where you’ll feel forced spending cuts

Most Americans will feel the impact of forced budget cuts when their lives intersect with government — trying to get through airport security to make a flight, visiting a national park, or using federal programs or assistance.

Congress can avert the automatic cuts, called sequester, if it compromises on a deficit-reduction plan before the March 1 deadline.

But time is running out.

No deal would set in motion some $85 billion in spending reductions that would be phased in through the end of the fiscal year, September 30.

Both the House and Senate are on their President’s Day break and will have four days to negotiate when they return next week.

Congress extended the deadline for action at the start of the year when Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell agreed to defer the cuts for two months.

Here’s where most Americans will feel their impact if sequester takes effect:

National parks

Expect closed gates at some national parks as the National Park Service would lose $110 million from its annual budget. This could also lead to shorter hours, fewer employees, and possible closure of camping and hiking spaces. Even the most popular national parks, such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, wouldn’t be spared.

Airport security and air traffic

Proposed cuts to the Transportation Security Administration could mean trouble for air travel. The wait at airport security checkpoints could increase by at least an hour due to furloughed TSA screeners, who check passengers and cargo for bombs, guns and other prohibited items. It could take longer to get through customs as well.

The Federal Aviation Administration manages air traffic at more than 400 commercial airports and cuts raise the possibility of flight delays, especially at crowded airports. The agency has preemptively warned its 47,000 workers of furloughs for one day every two weeks through September. Like the TSA, any furloughs would begin in late April or early May, the start of the busy summer travel season.


Thee Department of Education budget would also be trimmed. Proposed spending cuts would do the most damage to educational programs that heavily serve low income families. About 70,000 children could be forced out of Head Start, which promotes school readiness for children from birth to age 5. Further cuts to the education budget would also mean less money for schools and districts nationwide.

Public Health

While Medicare and Medicaid will be protected, primary and preventive care, like flu vaccinations, could be closed off to hundreds of thousands of Americans. Cuts to mental health funding will leave over 350,000 Americans untreated.

Food and workplace safety is also in danger. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which ensures safe workplaces and investigates accidents on the job would lose about 1,200 inspections, diminishing its oversight. The forced cuts could also affect food safety — there could be up to 2,100 fewer food inspections if the cuts are implemented. This could lead to a shortage of meat in our markets, as the sale of unchecked meat is prohibited.

Crime and justice

Federal prosecutors will have to close some cases if cuts are imposed. Federal courts will see a quarter of their employees furloughed and jury trials could be suspended because there will be no money to pay juries.

The Department of Homeland Security could lose up to 5,000 agents at the border and the Pentagon would furlough thousands of defense workers. According to FBI Director Robert Mueller, the FBI would lose 2,285 employees.

Unemployment benefits

Long term unemployed also stand to lose big. Under the proposed spending cuts, benefits are expected to decrease by 10% or, on average, $400 a month. This cut will affect 3.8 million Americans, who use these benefits to pay for food and housing while trying to find jobs in a damaged economy. The proposed cuts will also limit resources at job finding centers, a move the could heavily damage the livelihood of those who are already struggling.

TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


16 Comments to “Where you’ll feel forced spending cuts”

    mike said:
    February 22, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    These politicians need to realize that the people are going to get tired of suffering because of their innadequate job performance

    John said:
    February 22, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Are there other sane politicians out there aside from these Democratic and Republican clowns? We need a new brand of politics not affiliated with these two parties!

    Drew said:
    February 23, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    Funny that there are no cuts to themselves. That would be the least painful for most Americans.

      John said:
      February 23, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      These political animals who act on their political instincts should all commit mass Hara Kiri or just simply hang themselves.

        John said:
        February 23, 2013 at 9:05 PM

        Always politicking in their minds. Always doing what their dumb parties tell them to do and not what's sanely just and relevant. Always wary of their political image and thinking of the next election even if its still years away. Always hanging on to political seat for dear life!
        All politicians should be only allowed one term in office!

      Cheryl said:
      February 23, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      Agreed! Cut their salary, Cadillac benefits, and all the other perks. They should be working. Don't know other employees who get a Presidents' Day break other than Monday.

    kid1339 said:
    February 23, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Close the parks close the air ports close all those stupid parks in Washington close the White House where the Idiot lives , when he's not on air force one close it all BUT WE WILL MAKE IT ANYWAY !!!!!THEN WE CAN SET BACK & LAUGH AT THE OTHER IDIOTS…

    doogie said:
    February 23, 2013 at 11:26 AM


    Jonathan said:
    February 23, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Obama wants to move in with you so he too can feel your pain!

      kid1339 said:
      February 23, 2013 at 2:38 PM

      I don't have any pain , the wife and I don't have any bills ,just the living expense ,we have moneys in the Bank thatwe saved.Our home & car is paid for , we have S.S. thet we worked & paid in . We travel & party off that &still put some in the bank each month .So big boy I & my wife don't have any pain , We will keep you on our prayer list.

    kid1339 said:
    February 23, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    That would be fine At least he would be around someone that has sense .

    Enrique said:
    February 23, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    There are no cuts. It’s an insignificant slowing of government growth. It’s a pathetic drama like the fiscal cliff, green jobs, the occupy crowd etc.

    ktsingh said:
    February 28, 2013 at 2:10 AM
    kid1339 said:
    March 1, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Some day we will have some people in charge that have some smarts.

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    March 7, 2013 at 7:25 PM

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