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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • SEQUESTRATION: Breaking down the federal cuts

  • As the national debate over debt and deficit deepened in 2011, the White House moved to force Congress’ hand on spending reduction.
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    • Sequestration by the numbers
      • $37 million reduction for the Department of Defense's (DOD) budget for FY2013, including $20 billion in the operation and maintenance (O&M) accounts.
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      Sequestration by the numbers
      • $37 million reduction for the Department of Defense's (DOD) budget for FY2013, including $20 billion in the operation and maintenance (O&M) accounts.

      • Transferring sequestration cuts on the wartime budget to other areas as well as under-budgeted fuel expenses, there is a shortfall in the DOD's O&M accounts of more than $30 billion — a level that exceeds 15 percent of the budget request.

      • 13 combat squadrons in the Air Force will be grounded for the rest of FY2013 which ends Sept. 30.

      • 652,000 of 767,000 appropriated fund employees within the DOD are scheduled to be furloughed between July 8 and Sept. 30. Excepted civilian employees include civilians working in combat zones, personnel with safety-of-life responsibilities, wounded warrior caregivers and full-time sexual assault prevention and response coordinators and sexual assault victim advocates for active and reserve components.

      • Teachers at DOD Education Activity schools will be furloughed for five days at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year. Schools will be closed to students on those days.

      • When furloughs are implemented, most military commissaries will close one day a week on Mondays.

      • $1,889.4 (in millions) in cuts will be made to the federal elementary and secondary education budget and is estimated to impact 2,583,000 students across the country (total may include some duplication from cuts across different programs)

      • $986 (in millions) in cuts to federal special education funding is estimated to impact 543,600 students in the nation

      • 13,640 job losses are estimated to occur from cuts to the federal special education budget.

      • $621.5 (in millions) of cuts to Head Start are estimated to impact a 75,500 students and mean job losses of 32,720.

      • $4,154 (in millions) total cuts to federal education-related discretionary programs, impacting an estimated 6,709,600 students (with possible duplication across various programs).

      • 76,510 estimated job losses from cuts to federal education-related discretionary programs

      Sources: http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2013/0213_sequestration/

      http://dese.mo.gov/fas/documents/fas-NEA-ImpactofSequestrationincludingStateTables.pdf                                      
  • As the national debate over debt and deficit deepened in 2011, the White House moved to force Congress’ hand on spending reduction.
    The sequester idea was floated as a way to bring Republicans and Democrats to the table for cost-cutting compromise to avoid automatic, across-the-board cuts.  
    In 2011, unable to come to an agreement on what to cut and when, Congress passed the Budget Control Act requiring agreement on a plan to reduce the deficit - the amount the federal government goes into the red annually - by $4 trillion, including $2.5 trillion in cuts already in place.
    That meant that more than $1 trillion in cuts over 10 years had to be identified and agreed upon. If an agreement could not be reached, $1 trillion in automatic, arbitrary cuts across the federal government would be triggered in 2013.
    Thus was born the specter of the sequester - the cuts forced by the agreement.
    Despite two years of often bitter partisan wrangling, or perhaps because if it, no agreement was reached.
    What had been intended as a move to force the hand of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction - the so-called Super Committee - turned into a deadline that could not be met.
    The sequester was to hit Jan. 1, 2013. However, fears that the end of the Bush tax cuts and a payroll tax cut combined with sequestration would certainly kill the weak recovery and spark another recession resulted in parliamentary moves that reset the deadline for March 1.
    On that day sequestration went from concept to reality on the contemporary American scene.
    The cuts instituted on March 1 were evenly split between domestic and defense programs. Over the fiscal years 2013-2021 slightly more than $1 trillion will be cut from line items including Medicare, weapons purchasing and base construction.  
    Mandatory programs like Medicaid and Social Security and welfare programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and food stamps were shielded from the sequester.
    Other programs like aid for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program are subject to the required cuts.
    In 2013, $42.7 billion (7.9 percent) will be cut from the defense budget, $28.7 billion (5.3 percent) in domestic discretionary funding will be cut, Medicare will take a $9.9 billion (2 percent) haircut and another $4 billion in cuts to defense and nondefense programs will be made.
    As the sequester continues in 2014 cuts rise from the 2013 level of $85.4 billion to $109.3 billion a year. No programs are eliminated but the size - and cost - of programs will be reduced.
     
    What lawmakers are saying about cuts
    Missouri's U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt says he believes in making cuts to the federal budget but that those cuts must not come at the expense of national security.
    Page 2 of 2 - He called across-the-board cuts to the military budget "potentially devastating."
    "While I believe we must rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending, these cuts should be targeted in a responsible way that does not jeopardize our national security or military readiness," he says.
    Blunt says he will continue working toward a bipartisan agreement to mitigate the sequester's impact on the armed forces.   
    "The world is an increasingly dangerous place, and I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect our military readiness and ensure our men and women in uniform have the resources they need to defend our country," he says.
    U.S. Sen Claire McCaskill's office released the following statement:
    “Claire continues to believe that the single best way to deal with the effects of these across-the-board budget cuts is for entrenched members of Congress to come to the table of compromise and support a balanced replacement. Until that happens, we’ll continue to see these types of harmful effects.”
    Additional information: The sequester is a product of the Budget Control Act of 2011—which applies across-the-board cuts to federal spending by $1.2 trillion over 10 years. It was supported by 74 senators, including both of Missouri’s. The impact on this year’s budget is roughly $85 billion in cuts.
     
    TIMELINE
    July 27, 2011 — The idea for automatic cuts to the federal budget —sequestration — comes from the President Barack Obama White House according to journalist Bob Woodward and others.
     
    Aug. 2, 2011 — Congress sends Budget Control Act to Obama. He signs it and the clocks starts ticking toward Jan. 1, 2011, deadline for a budget deal to avoid sequestration.
    Nov. 21, 2011 —  The so-called Super Committee fails to reach agreement and Obama tells Congress he will veto any move to void sequestration.
    May 10, 2011 — House Republicans pass the Sequester Replacement Act, an attempt to make cuts and avoid sequestration.
    Dec. 20, 2012 — House Republicans pass Spending Reduction Act, another alternative to sequestration unacceptable to Democrats and the White House.
    Jan. 2, 2013 — Obama signs “fiscal cliff” deal, pushing sequester deadline to March 1.
    Feb. 5, 2013 — President asks Congress to delay sequester.
    Feb. 13, 2013 —  Presidential spokesman Jay Carney confirms sequester was White House idea.
    March 1, 2013 — Sequester kicks in. White House tours are cancelled then later reinstated after uproar. Exhibitions by Navy’s Blue Angels canceled.  Federal employees are furloughed one day per pay period.
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