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With just four days before a sweeping set of across-the-board budget cuts is slated to go into effect, the Obama administration is ramping up pressure on Congress to reach a deal for averting the so-called "sequestration," which would carve out $1.2 trillion from defense and non-defense spending over the course of the next 10 years. But as the clock ticks toward the deadline with no apparent deal in sight, the White House Sunday night issued a dire memo about what, specifically, will go on the chopping block in the event that no deal is reached.
The memo rounds up the administration's state-by-state calculation of exactly how much money will be slashed from education programs; military and defense spending; public health programs; law enforcement, and others over the course of the fiscal year if sequestration goes into effect. But as Mr. Obama pointed out in remarks this morning, not all of the cuts will be enacted immediately: Even after March 1 - the date they kick into action - Congress can take action to negate their impact.
In the meantime, however, here's a guide to what the projected cuts are according to the White House and where they'll be the steepest. The figures below represent cuts that will take place over the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends in September.
According to the White House, sequestration would be devastating to the nation's already hard-hit public education system: A fact sheet released earlier this month says 70,000 kids would be kicked off Head Start, 10,000 teachers would find themselves at risk of unemployment, and funding would be eliminated for up to 7,2000 special education teachers, aides and staff.
In states like California, Texas, New York, and Florida, those cuts look particularly dramatic:
California would lose $87.6 million in funding for primary and secondary education, as well as $62.9 million in funding for education with disabilities. The number of students who would no longer be served is 187,000; meanwhile, 1,210 teacher and aide jobs would be at risk and 320 schools would lose funding. The White House also says 8,200 children would lose access to Head Start and 9,600 low-income students would lose access to work-study aid.
Texas would lose $67.8 million worth of funding for primary and secondary education; 172,000 fewer students would be served. The state would also lose $51 million in funding for teachers, aides and staff who help children with disabilities.
Florida would lose $54.5 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting 750 teacher and aide jobs at risk.
New York would see cuts of $42.7 million to primary and secondary education, and 4,300 kids would lose access to early education.
The Department of Defense has been consistently vehement in its opposition to the sequester cuts, warning for months of the ways in which budget reductions would hit the nation's military readiness. Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in a series of farewell appearances at the end of his tenure, railed against Congress for inaction on the issue, and warned that the ability to effectively confront sweeping security challenges is at a risk as a result. States with heavy military presences would be particularly hard hit:
- In Virginia, 90,000 Defense Department employees would be furloughed, far and away the most in the country, and gross military pay would be reduced by $648.4 million overall. The army would lose $146 million in funding, the air force would lose $8 million, and a number of naval projects could be canceled or delayed.
California would see 64,000 defense jobs furloughed, and it would lose $15 million worth of air force funding.
In Texas, Army funding would be reduced by $233 million and Air Force funding would be reduced by $27 million. Gross military pay in the state would be cut by $274.8 million.
Maryland, too, would see big cuts in gross military pay, with a $353.7 million dollar reduction.
Hawaii's Army operation funding, meanwhile, would be cut by about $106 million.
The White House has also warned that up to 2,100 fewer food inspections could occur under the sequestration, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) might have to furlough all its employees for up to two weeks. Not only would this pose public health risks, the administration argues, it would also potentially add costs in lost food production. Plus, a number of states would see losses in public health funding and access to funding for the treatment and prevention for substance abuse and HIV.
New York would see $2.7 million in cuts to the department of public health.
California would lose $2.6 million in funds for public health threat responses, another $12.4 million worth of grants to prevent and treat substance abuse.
In Florida, funding providing meals for seniors would be slashed by $3.8 million.
Funding for vaccines would be cut by $1.1 million in California, which would eliminate free vaccinations for 15,810 kids.
A number of social programs would also be hit by sequester cuts: The administration says about 600,000 women and children would be dropped from the Department of Agriculture's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program from March through September, resulting in 1,600 job losses. And more than 100,000 formerly homeless people would be kicked out of housing and shelter programs, according to a White House fact sheet.
There are also implications for job training, child care, and victim protection:
Ohio would lose out on $1.8 million worth of funds toward helping people find jobs; according to the White House, that means 57,100 people will lose out on that assistance.
In Texas, 2,300 children would lose access to child care.
Illinois would lose $274,000 worth of funding provided by the Violence Against Women Act, impacting 1,000 victims.
Steve Chaggaris and Lindsey Boerma contributed to this report.
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