Officials from the Obama administration went to Capitol Hill last week to discuss the potential fallout if sequestration is allowed to take effect in January.
According to Federal Times, 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.
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.
Half of the cuts would hit the Defense Department alone. Last week, the Obama administration said it will exempt military personnel programs from sequestration. While the move may quell some of the worry of service members losing their jobs or bonuses next year as a result of the budget impasse, the announcement carries with it bad news for other parts of the defense budget, according to Military Times.
By exempting the account for military pay, benefits and change of station travel from cuts if the once unimaginable across-the-board cuts come in January, the Obama administration would have to make even deeper cuts in other defense programs.
If all programs were treated equally, every account would be cut by about 8 percent in January, according to senior House Armed Services Committee aides who spoke with reporters before the White House letter was received. With personnel exempt, every defense program faces a 12 percent cut, the aides said.
At this point, it’s unclear whether the standoff between the White House and Congress will be resolved before the sequestration cuts take effect.
Below is an Aug. 3 report on the sequestration crisis from the PBS News Hour: