Federal Sequestration Q&A

A primer on federal sequestration by the Associated Press, run recently in the Cumberland Times-News, highlights the various effects of the pending across-the-board spending cuts. From the article:

The sequester isn’t a government shutdown; it’s a government slowdown. Furloughs of federal workers — forced unpaid days off — generally won’t start for a month due to notification requirements. Many government contracts would still be funded using money previously approved even as agencies slow down the awards of new contracts. But furloughs of workers like air traffic controllers, meat inspectors, FBI agents, the Border Patrol and park rangers will mean an inevitable deterioration of noticeable government services that could, for instance, force intermittent closures of meat packing plants and shorter operating hours at smaller airports.

The article goes on to discuss the fiscal effects of the cutbacks:

Over a decade, the cuts total about $1 trillion, half from defense and half from domestic programs. There’s an additional $200 billion or so in lower government interest payments. For this budget year, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the cuts are $42.7 billion from defense (8 percent) and $42.7 billion from domestic programs (5 percent). Because the cuts are backloaded into the last seven months of the budget year, they feel more like a 13 percent cut to the Pentagon and 9 percent cut to domestic agencies during that period.

Read the full article here.