With Sequestration, Pain For All

August 4, 2012

The $109 billion in sequestration budget cuts scheduled to go into effect Jan. 2 would likely mean hiring freezes, furloughs and staffing reductions at the Defense Department, FBI, Border Patrol and Transportation Security Administration, the Obama administration said this week.

It could also mean:

• 2 million jobs lost nationwide, including 270,000 federal jobs.

• A near-doubling of the Social Security Administration's pending disability insurance claims backlog.

• Significant cuts to the Federal Aviation Administration's efforts to ensure safe air travel, and slashed food safety and workplace safety inspections.

• Delayed Defense construction projects.

• Partial or full closure of numerous national parks.

• Severe cuts to National Weather Service forecasting.

Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that sequestration is a disastrous, chaotic policy — one that was designed to be so onerous that Congress would have no choice but to compromise and find a way to cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion. But a so-called supercommittee failed to reach an agreement last November, setting the government on a path toward the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts. 

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