Sequestration—or the sequester cuts—refers to a series of across-the-board federal budget reductions that will be split evenly between defense and domestic discretionary spending beginning March 1, 2013. The $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts, that will kick in at the beginning of next month, are divided evenly over ten years.
As part of the legislation approved on New Year’s Day to avert the fiscal cliff, the White House and congressional leaders postponed the cuts until March 1, 2013.
What are the cuts for 2013?
The cuts this year have been reduced from the original $109 billion to $85.3 billion to reflect the shorter time frame.
• The new defense cuts will amount to $43 billion, or an average of 7.3 percent.
• The domestic cuts will also be about $43 billion, or an average of 5.1 percent.
What cannot be cut in sequestration?
Certain areas of government spending are not included in sequestration:
• war spending
• Social Security
• veterans’ benefits
• food stamps
• federal retirement programs
What can be cut?
• Administrative costs within federal agencies
• Spending on programs for economic
• Vocational education
• Employment training
• Aid to the states
• Research grants
• Head Start
The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, would be forced to absorb cuts of about $6.6 billion – while Homeland Security, Education and HUD would each be cut by about $3.7 billion.
How can we avoid these cuts?
President Obama asked Congress to pass a new package including:
• limited spending cuts
• tax increases to temporarily block the sequestration cuts from taking effect beginning March 1.
But Republicans are opposed to raising additional tax revenue as part of any deal.
Thanks to The Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation for the info on sequestration contained in this article.