Everything We Know About What’s Happened Under Sequestration
(Photo: AFGE / Flickr)When the annual White House Easter Egg Hunt faced cancellation this year due to the package of mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration, the National Park Service kicked into high gear. It rescued the event — held since 1878 — with money from “corporate sponsors and the sale of commemorative wooden eggs,” according to the Washington Post.
Other programs haven’t been so lucky. Children in Indiana have been cut from the federally funded Head Start preschool program. Last week, the White Houseannounced furloughs for480 staffers in the Office of Management and Budget. And cuts to Medicare have forced cancer clinics to turn away thousands of patients who are being treated with drugs the clinics can no longer afford.
We’ve taken a look at what’s actually happened in the six weeks since sequestration took effect.
Remind me, what is sequestration again?
Remember the clash over the debt ceiling back in 2011? When Republicans and President Obama struck a deal to raise it, they created a “super committee” of six Democrats and six Republicans and gave them three and a half months to hash out $1.2 trillion worth of cuts to the federal budget over the next decade. If they failed, a package of automatic cuts designed to slash funding to programs dear to both parties (military spending, in the Republicans’ case, and Medicare and other domestic programs in the Democrats’) would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.
Needless to say, the super committee failed, leading to the cuts we’re seeing now.
How does this fit in with the “fiscal cliff”?
Sequestration was one element of the “fiscal cliff,” which also included a number of other spending cuts and tax increases. Congress passed a last-minute deal Jan. 1 to blunt the cliff’s impact, which included pushing back the effective date for sequestration to March 1. While Obama and members of Congress spoke out against the sequestration in February — Senate Democrats announced a plan to put it off for another 10 months — those efforts failed to stop the cuts.
So what’s happened since March 1?
The indiscriminate cuts span a wide range of federal programs and departments, making them difficult to track. (Even the White House struggled to explain exactly which programs they’d hit as it was denouncing them.) Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, told reporters Feb. 28 that sequestration would have “a rolling impact, an effect that will build and build and build.”
Congress passed a bill, signed by Obama on March 26, to spare a few programs from cuts this year, including an infant nutrition program, the nuclear weapons program and funding for security at U.S. embassies abroad — a sensitive area since the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, last September. The bill also gave some agencies, including the Pentagon, more flexibility in carrying out the sequester. But it didn’t reduce the total amount the government is required to cut — $85 billion — by the end of the fiscal year in October.
Gotcha. What has all this done to the economy?
The Congressional Budget Office estimates sequestration will cost around 750,000 jobs in total, and forecasters think it could reduce economic growth by half a percentage point this year. But with much of the sequester only beginning taking effect, the effects have been hard to see so far. The sequester doesn’t seem to be responsible for the weak March jobs report, Annie Lowrey writes on the New York Times’ Economix blog, and most furloughs have yet to take effect.
Do we know any more about what’s been affected?
Yes. Sequestration is still playing out, but here’s what we know has happened so far:
Congress: While lawmakers’ salaries are exempt from cuts, sequestration hasn’t spared congressional offices, which have had to slash their spending by 8.2 percent. “Magazine subscriptions have been canceled,” the Washington Post reported. “Constituents are getting e-mail instead of snail mail. Invoices are getting a second look.” Sequestration has also cut into funding for the overseas fact-finding trips lawmakers often take, known as “codels.” House Speaker John A. Boehner, a Republican, banned his caucus from using military aircraft for codels in February.
The White House: While the egg hunt was saved, the White House announced last month that it would stop giving tours due to sequestration. (Republicans criticized the decision, with Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma calling it “a dramatic overreaction.”) The White House has also furloughed 480 Office of Management and Budget staffers, and the president will voluntarily return 5 percent of his salary. (Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and other officials have also announced that they will return a portion of their salaries.) But Roll Call has reported that the White House — which spent “more than a month of dodging questions” about the effects of sequestration on West Wing staffers —seems to have been spared from deep cuts.
Federal Agencies: Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and other officials predicted in February that sequestration would cause lengthy delays at airports, but such delays don’t seem to have occurred. Flights on U.S.-based airlines came in on time with about the same frequency during the last two weeks in March as they did during the same period last year, the Los Angeles Times reported. But sequestration’s effects on other federal agencies and departments have been very real.
After sequestration forced Yellowstone National Park to cut $1.75 million from its $35 million budget, the park — run by the National Park Service — trimmed its payroll and decided to cut back on snowplowing, which would delay the park’s opening. Plowing was saved only when the Cody and Jackson Hole, Wyo., chambers of commerce, fearing the economic impact of a late park opening, kicked in $170,000.
In Washington, agency after agency is planning to furlough its employees. “The Department of Housing and Urban Development,” the Washington Post reported, “will shut down for seven days starting in May, after concluding that staggering furloughs for 9,000 employees would create too much paperwork.” And the Department of Labor is planning to lay off 30 of the 74 lawyers it hired to work through a backlog of mine-safety citations that are under appeals. The department had hired the lawyers after a 2010 explosion at a mine run by a company that had received many such citations but fought them, preventing regulatory action against it. The move will save the Labor Department $2.1 million.
And while airline delays haven’t materialized, the Federal Aviation Administration has announced that it plans to close 149 airport control towers. Most of them are at rural airports, but the north tower at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is also on the list. The tower and O’Hare’s 27 Right runway opened in 2008 as part of a $450 million project that has boosted significantly the number of planes the airport can handle. But furloughs for O’Hare’s air traffic controllers mean the tower and the runway might be shut down for part of each day. After protests, the F.A.A.announced last week that it would delay the closings until June.
The Pentagon: Even with the bill signed by Obama in March, the Pentagon still must cut $41 billion from its budget this year, which Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described as “the steepest decline in our budget ever.” (The Pentagon has been asked to cut more before, but never halfway through the fiscal year.)
Hundreds of thousands of civilian Defense Department employees will likely have to take 14 furlough days by October. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said last week that everything from weapons to the number of generals and admirals could be cut.
Medicare: Cancer clinics last week began turning away thousands of Medicare patients being treated with expensive chemotherapy drugs, which the clinics say they can no longer afford. “Legislators meant to partially shield Medicare from the automatic budget cuts triggered by the sequester, limiting the program to a 2 percent reduction — a fraction of the cuts seen by other federal programs,” the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff reported. “But oncologists say the cut is unexpectedly damaging for cancer patients because of the way those treatments are covered.” Medicare has said that it doesn’t have the power to restore funding for the drugs. (Rep. Renee Ellmers, a North Carolina Republican, introduced a bill this week that would reverse the cuts.)
Education: The federally funded Head Start early education program is expected to lose about 70,000 of its roughly 1 million slots due to sequestration. Those cuts have already hit children in Indiana, where Head Start programs in two townsresorted to a lottery system in March to determine which kids could remain. Other Head Start programs — such as one in Passaic County, N.J., that expects to lose about $200,000 of its roughly $4 million in federal funding — won’t have to wrestle with cuts until the fall.
Sequestration is also hitting schools on Indian reservations, where federal funds can make up 60 percent of a school’s budget. The Fort Peck Indian reservation in Montana “can’t hire a reading teacher in an elementary school where more than half the students do not read or write at grade level,” according to the Washington Post. Summer school may be cancelled. And the Red Lake reservation in Minnesota — where a shooting at the high school left seven people dead in 2005 — has cut its security staff, as well as course offerings and support staff, in response to sequestration.
Scientific Research: The sequester has also hacked away at funding for scientific research. The National Science Foundation expects to make 1,000 fewer grants this year. Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., will admit fewer science and engineering graduate students. And the directors of the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories expect that the “drop in funding will force us to cancel all new programs and research initiatives, probably for at least two years.” More than 50 Nobel laureates have signed a letter protesting the cuts, which Hunter R. Rawlings III, the president of the Association of American Universities, has also decried. “To put it kindly, this is an irrational approach to deficit reduction,” he told a Senate committee in February. “To put it not so kindly, it is just plain stupid.”
Court System: Sequestration has cut the federal judiciary’s budget by almost $350 million for the 2013 fiscal year, which is already half over. In Massachusetts, public defenders will have to take 16½ furlough days — which could lead to a backlog in the court system — and funding for drug and mental health services will be cut by 20 percent. In Dallas, the public defender’s office will shut down every Friday for the next six months.
And in New York, public defenders representing Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a former Al Qaeda spokesman and a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden charged with conspiring to kill Americans, requested this week that a federal judge push back the trial date because of furloughs in their office. “It’s extremely troublesome to contemplate the possibility of a case of this nature being delayed because of sequestration,” Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Monday. “Let me say only that — stunning.”
Wow. Has anybody beaten sequestration?
Yes. Weeks before the sequester hit, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack started describing how his department would have to furlough meat inspectors if the cuts went through, forcing meat-processing plants to shut down on furlough days. His talk convinced the meat inspectors’ union and other industry heavyweights to start lobbying. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Turkey Federation went to work, and the Senate ended up moving $55 million from other Agriculture Department programs to the inspectors.
Read David A. Fahrenthold and Lisa Rein’s excellent Washington Post story for more details.
How can I keep up with the sequester?
Here are some great resources for tracking the overall impact:
- The Washington Post is charting the projected and actual impact on federal agencies.
- We’ve compiled some of the best charts and graphics explaining the sequester.
Here’s a list from the Huffington Post, April 2, 2013, but the biggest impacts are coming.
1. Air Force base jobs lost in Tullahoma, Tenn. – The Aerospace Testing Alliance announced it is cutting 128 of 1,809 civilian jobs at Arnold Air Force Base in Tullahoma starting April 19. It has also put in place a 20 percent pay cut and weekly furloughs for workers at a research facility. [Link]
2. Loss of jobs in Rock Island, Ill. – The U.S. Army garrison, Rock Island Arsenal, announced that it is firing 175 employees, 44 of whom are temporary workers, 131 of whom will see their jobs unrenewed when their terms expire. [Link]
3. Medical response times lengthened in central Nebraska. – Medical responders have had response times lengthened because of the closing of a control tower at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport. [Link]
4. Food pantry closed in Murray, Utah. – The Salt Lake Community Action Program closed its food pantry, one of five locations that serve more than 1,000 people every month. Executive Director Cathy Hoskins told The Huffington Post that in addition to the closure, the organization has stopped paying into employees’ retirement plans, won’t fill an open job and told some staffers to take a week’s unpaid leave. “I’ve had one person retire, we’re not replacing them. We’re not doing any hiring at all,” Hoskins said. “We’re trying very hard to boost our volunteers, but this is hard work working in a pantry. And if you get a volunteer, usually it’s a short-term volunteer because it’s just very very difficult work. … No raises, no increases, none of that stuff. We’re cutting everything we possibly can.” [Link]
5. Research employees lost in Durham, N.C. – The Duke Clinical Research Institute is planning to “downsize” 50 employees. [Link]
6. Contractor jobs lost in southwest Oklahoma. – Northrop Grumman Information Systems Lawton, Okla., site issued 26 layoff notices. The defense contractor CGI is anticipating that sequestration would affect 270 workers at its Lawton site. [Link]
7. Health care jobs cut in Hampton Roads, Va. – Officials at Hampton Roads Planning District Commission announce that 1,600 jobs in the region’s health care sector will disappear. “It won’t be job cuts,” said James A. Clary, an economist with the group. “It will be not filling the positions.” [Link]
8. Health care workers laid off in Saranac Lake, N.Y. – Adirondack Health, a medical center at Lake Placid, announced that was laying off 18 workers after firing 17 in December. [Link]
9. Rehabilitation center for Native Americans closed in Sitka, Alaska. – The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium announced that on April 30, it is closing the Bill Brady Healing Center, a residential drug and alcohol treatment center for Alaska Natives. Michael Jenkins, communications director, said the approximately 20 people who work there will be transferred to other positions in the organization, furloughed or fired. “For the most part, because of our location here in southeast, alcohol and drug abuse has a very high incidence. So taking this away is going to make it difficult,” he said. [Link]
10. Education jobs lost in Sioux City, Iowa. – The Iowa Early Intervention education program is bracing for the loss of 11 teaching positions, while the Sioux City Community School Board is looking at potentially 30 staff positions being eliminated. [Link]
11. Convention industry suffers nationwide. – The cancellation of government trade shows and the reduction of private travel has begun taking a hit on the convention venue industry. [Link]
12. Tourism jobs take a hit in Savannah, Ga. – Fort Pulaski National Monument announced that it was hiring fewer seasonal employees this summer to deal with $68,000 in sequestration cuts. “It will have an impact,” Acting Superintendent Terri Wales told The Huffington Post. “We will lose one permanent positions and our staff is only 16. We will be short a couple seasonal positions this summer. we won’t be able to perform as many interpretive programs as we do in the summer months. Our grass will be growing a little higher.” [Link]
13. Workers furloughed in Syracuse, N.Y. – The Hancock Field Air National Guard Base will furlough 280 workers in the coming months and Syracuse city schools will lose over $1 million. [Link]
14. Cuts to workers at a missile-testing site in the Marshall Islands. – The U.S. ambassador to the Marshall Islands has been told that 15 percent of the workforce at the Reagan Test Site at Kwajalein Atoll could lose jobs. [Link]
15. Families that rely on Head Start targeted in Bethlehem, Pa. – Allentown-based Community Services for Children has warned that 100 children in Lehigh Valley could lose their place in the Head Start program there. [Link]
16. Meals on Wheels cut in central Maine. – Spectrum Generations, central Maine’s agency on aging, will essentially have to cut 9 percent of its budget, meaning that programs like Meals on Wheels may not deliver to all the seniors who rely on it. [Link]
17. Fewer staffers for Head Start in Rio Grande Valley, Texas. – A local Head Start chapter froze the hiring of 19 staff positions in order to meet sequester cut demands. [Link]
18. Medical jobs at risk in Providence, R.I. – Lifespan, the nonprofit parent of major medical facilities including Rhode Island Hospital association, acknowledged significant budget problems caused, in part, by sequestration. The funding issues could reportedly result in the loss of 3,000 jobs at that association by 2021. [Link]
19. Shorter school week at Fort Bragg, N.C. – The military is considering shifting to a four-day school week, which would affect 84,000 students on military installations worldwide and 5,000 at Fort Bragg. Teachers may also face furloughs in the coming months. [Link]
20. Fewer children enrolled in Head Start in Cincinnati, Ohio. – The Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency is figuring out how it will cut its Head Start program, which may affect teacher positions, bus routes and students enrolled in the program. Right now, as many as 182 students may be dropped from the program, although Michelle Hopkins of CAA told The Huffington Post that the organization is still waiting for final budget numbers. “They are in limbo,” she said of the families that rely on Head Start. “They’re worried; they don’t want to lose their Head Start slot.” She added that her biggest concern is what will happen to the children who are cut because of sequestration. “Will they end up in sub-quality care? Will they end up with an older family member who doesn’t have the skills to teach them the skills they need at this point?” [Link]
21. Work-Study jobs cut in Chapel Hill, N.C. – University of North Carolina will cut 31 work-study jobs in the next academic year because of an $84,000 sequestration-related cut. “We have made lots of offers [to students] but we could use so much more in work study,” Shirley Ort, the school’s associate provost and director of scholarships and student aid told The Huffington Post. [Link]
22. Health care industry suffers in Dallas. – The Board of Managers at Parkland Memorial Hospital received word that it would lose $2 million this year. The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, meanwhile, said that 50,000 health care jobs could be lost in all of Texas if sequestration lasts through 2021. [Link]
23. Housing employees face possible layoffs in Joliet, Ill. – The Housing Authority of Joliet, already struggling, is going to lose nearly $900,000 due to sequestration. It recently sent layoff warnings to employees. [Link]
24. School aid slashed in Knoxville, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee’s financial aid office announced it would slash 33 student awards across two programs for the 2013-14 school year [Link]
25. Layoffs expected in Fort Lee, Va. – Fort Lee alerted the state that it projects a combined 168 layoffs in the next 60 days. [Link]
26. Scientific research at risk in Long Island, N.Y. – Officials at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider have begun airing concerns that their facility in Upton (which supports 860 jobs) is at risk of being gutted. [Link]
27. Less camping in Connell, Wash. – Scooteney Park has remained closed to campers because of sequestration. Day use remains intact. [Link]
28. Weeks of Head Start dropped in Iron County, Mo. – The Ironton Head Start Center said it will drop three weeks of coverage due to sequestration. [Link]
29. Air show cancelled in Rapid City, S.D. – Officials at Ellsworth Air Force Base have cancelled the Dakota Thunder air show this year. It has been held every few years for decades at the base. [Link]
30. Funding for child care lost in Arizona. – The Department of Economic Security expects to lose nearly $3 million in child-care funding. That means the state must come up with extra funds in order to keep about 1,000 children of working parents in child care. [Link]
31. Medical and scientific research at risk in California. – A group of biomedical researchers report that California stands to lose $180 million in medical and scientific research. [Link]
32. Fewer volcanoes monitored in Fairbanks, Alaska. – The Alaska Volcano Observatory, which monitors volcanoes because ash cloud eruptions can impair intercontinental aviation, announced that it is cutting back some of its real-time monitoring because of sequestration. [Link]
33. Loss of jobs in Knoxville, Tenn. – Tellico Services Inc., announced that it was laying off approximately 85 of its 200 workers, citing a lack of orders from the military. [Link]
34. Hit to medical center in Indiana. – D. Craig Brater, dean of Indiana University’s School of Medicine, warned that, “sequestration will have a disproportionate impact on our academic medical center and our ability to care for our sickest and most vulnerable patients, both now and in the future.” [Link]
35. Fewer students in Head Start in Laramie, Wyo. – The local Head Start is losing at least $36,700 — eliminating 5 percent to 5.9 percent of this year’s budget. The group is still figuring out how to absorb the cuts, looking at eliminating an entire classroom or cutting staff positions. [Link]
36. Cut to unemployment benefits in the Virgin Islands. – Weekly unemployment checks for Virgin Islanders will be cut by 10.7 percent. [Link]
37. Poverty-fighting program suspended in West Virginia. – West Virginia workers with VISTA — the national service program designed to fight poverty — remain in limbo due to sequestration. For the rest of the fiscal year, there will be no new VISTA projects in the state, no new VISTA workers starting service and those whose terms end will not be allowed to renew for another year with the group. [Link]
38. Furloughs at Head Start in Allegany County, Pa. – The non-profit ACCORD Corp. announced that 60 employees at the Head Start program would be forced to take a week off of work without pay and that several management positions were being reduced from 12 months to 10 months in length. “We took the tact, in the short term, to not eliminate any staff positions between now and September in hopes that some budget will be resolved,” Charlie Kalthoff, executive director, told The Huffington Post. “We eliminated some work days and cut back on staffing hours but didn’t eliminate positions.” [Link]
39. No military aircraft at show in Louisville, Ky. – Thunder Over Lousiville organizers said they have been told that they will not get military aircraft for the show this year, due to sequestration. [Link]
40. Public services cut in Erie, Pa. – The Erie County Department of Human Services estimates that it will lose $1.9 million to $2.7 million in the 2013-2014 fiscal year because of sequestration, meaning the agency will likely have to “end up cutting programs, providing less services.” [Link]
41. Possible furloughs in Orange County, Calif. – More than 2,600 civilian employees at Southern California military bases may be forced to take unpaid leave in the coming weeks. [Link]
42. Disruption to public broadcasting in Virginia. – Blue Ridge PBS is shutting down two transmitters that carry the station’s over-the-air digital signal to southwest Virginia and Tennessee. [Link]
43. Flight 93 Memorial less accessible in Stoystown, Pa. – The National Park Service is reducing the number of hours the public can visit the Flight 93 National Memorial, which honors the heroism of the passengers aboard United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001. The monument will start operating its longer summer hours on May 1, instead of April 1 as planned, and it will likely hire fewer seasonal staff employees and have fewer interpretative programs. [Link]
44. Unemployment benefits reduced in Lancaster, Pa. – Approximately 99,000 people in Pennsylvania will see their unemployment compensation reduced by 10.7 percent. In Lancaster County, it was reported that some 2,700 people may lose needed benefits. [Link]
45. Research funding cut in Gainesville, Fla. – The University of Florida said that it is expecting a $14 million cut in federal research funding. It has more than 1,000 active research projects. [Link]
46. Airport tower closed in Frederick, Md. – Less than a year after it opened, sequestration is forcing the closure of Frederick Municipal Airport’s control tower. It’s the busiest general aviation airport in the state, with about 130,000 annual flight operations. [Link]
47. Air show cancelled in Cleveland, Ohio – The 2013 Cleveland Air Show has been cancelled. [Link]
48. School jobs slashed in Hampton Roads, Va. – Faced with a budget shortfall and another $2.5 million lost due to sequestration, Hampton City Schools are slashing $10 million and more than 193 positions. Eighty-six teacher jobs and 59 instruction support staff are up for elimination. [Link]
49. Medicare patients turned away in Manchester, Conn. – With sequestration cutting Medicare payments to doctors, at least one private practice sent out a letter saying it would no longer be able to afford treating Medicare patients, effective April 1. [Link]
50. No overtime for customs agents in Long Beach, Calif. – Customs agents at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are seeing their overtime cut. [Link]
51. Furloughs in Portsmouth, N.H. – At the Pease Air National Guard Base, commanders said they expect military technicians to be the hardest by sequestration, which is furloughing some civilian employees. One-third of the full-time force at the base is technicians. [Link]
52. Tourists face fewer services in Harkers Island, N.C. – Cape Lookout National Seashore will have fewer staffers and reduced operations during its busy season. It’s expecting a 5 percent cut to its $2.4 million budget and officials expect to lose two seasonal employees and another unfilled permanent spot. [Link]
53. Officials may have to return federal dollars in Montana. – Montana and other states that receive funding through the Secure Rural Schools Act may have to give back money to Uncle Sam. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is asking Montana to return $1.145 million due to sequestration. [Link]
54. Risk to campers in Oklahoma. – The opening of campgrounds along the Arkansas River is being delayed with the possibility that they may not open at all. [Link]
55. Army band cancels concert in Orangeburg, S.C. – The Army Band’s free concert at the Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School has been cancelled. [Link]
56. Fewer people served by housing authority in Huntsville, Ala. – [Link] Five percent of the Huntsville Housing Authority’s budget will be gone for 2013, in part due to sequestration. The agency estimates it will be serving approximately 300 fewer people as part of the federal Section 8 housing voucher program. [Link]
57. Blue Ridge Parkway tourism hit in Virginia and North Carolina. – Some of the National Park Service programming that is traditionally free to the public along the Blue Ridge Parkway has been put on hold for this year. There will be fewer seasonal employees, meaning some facility closures as well as reduced services and hours. [Link]
58. Less access for people with disabilities in Loyalsock Township, Pa. – The township anticipates that it won’t be able to make as many curbs handicapped accessible as planned because of a reduction in Community Development Block Grant funds. [Link]
59. Possible layoffs in southwestern Illinois. – Federal contractor Aero NavData may lay off 45 employees next month due to budget cuts. Corrections officers at the federal prison in Greenville, Ill., will be furloughed for 14 days. [Link]
60. Cuts to education in Harlan County, Ky. – Officials at Harlan County Schools said they anticipate that sequestration will affect “a lot of employment” in its programs, from special education to various federal grant projects. [Link]
61. White House staffers receive furlough notices in D.C. – The Obama administration announced that 480 employees in the Office of Management and Budget were given notice that they’d have to take 10 days off from April 21 to Sept. 7. In addition, White House staff were forced to curtail the use of air cards due to sequester. [Link]
62. Career development in Portsmouth, N.H. – The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s Women’s Resource Network is losing money that it uses for a program designed to interest female students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. [Link]
63. Help for the unemployed reduced in Utah. – The State Department of Workforce Services announced a 12.8 percent cut in emergency unemployment compensation would begin on April 28. [Link]
64. U.S. history education cut in Williamsburg, Va. – The Colonial National Historical Park announced that, in order to meet a $336,706 budget cut, it would reduce visitor services. [Link]
65. Uncertainty for dairy farmers nationwide. –The U.S. Agriculture Department traditionally collects data and puts out monthly reports on milk production. Dairy farmers use those reports to determine production, while milk processors and brokers use them to set prices. Under sequestration, these reports have been suspended, alarming farmers. “Not having the reports can have significant impacts because there is no way of knowing what the supply will be,” said Greg Bussler, a Wisconsin statistician for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. [Link]
66. Army entertainment cancelled in Clover, S.C. – The United States Army Field Band and Soldiers Chorus has canceled the concert scheduled for April 8. [Link]
67. Teaching jobs slashed in North Carolina. – U.S. Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) briefed local teachers about the possibility of $25 million in education cuts and 350 teaching jobs being lost in the state. [Link]
68. Parks face fewer resources in Montana. – Glacier National Park announced that it was reducing seasonal staff and trail maintenance to meet a $700,000 budget cut. [Link]
69. Ships called back to San Diego, Calif. – The USS Thatch was called back to its home port, at the directive of the Navy. In addition, the San Diego-based USS Rentz and USS Jefferson City had their deployments cancelled for April. [Link]
70. Hospitals slashing services in Florida. – The president of the Florida Hospital Association estimated that state hospitals would suffer a $2 billion hit during the next decade. [Link]
71. Education jobs lost in Klamath and Trinity River, Calif. – The Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District is laying off one district administrator and several teachers. [Link]
72. Airport closure in Lewiston, Idaho. – The Lewiston Nez-Perce Airport announced it would close in April. [Link]
73. Dire warnings in Fairfax County, Va. – Fairfax County Executive Ed Long warned northern Virginians to “prepare for the worst, hope for the best” and to “set aside” money for the tough times sequestration will bring. [Link]
74. Housing hit in Sacramento, Calif. – The Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency is preparing to lose $13.9 million in funds that it uses to help poor families pay rent. “We subsidize the rent,” the group’s executive director, LaShelle Dozier, told The Huffington Post. “If we stop that, then you have a landlord with a tenant who can’t pay the rent. And then they have to go through the eviction process.” [Link]
75. Head Start staffers lose retirement funds in central Florida. – Local Head Start staffers are absorbing as much of the pain from sequestration as possible, so that the families they serve won’t be as affected. Mid-Florida Community Services will stop contributing to the retirement funds of its 225 Head Start staffers as of the first pay period in April. [Link]
76. Loss of jobs at Natchez Trace Parkway, Tenn. – The Natchez Trace Parkway is stopping its job creation. Five vacant permanent positions will not be filled, along with 15 seasonal employee jobs. Staff also will close and reduce services and operations. [Link]
77. Education hit in Kentucky. – Kentucky Department of Education officials hosted a webinar in which state officials told them they would get a cut of roughly $31.8 million. [Link]
78. Uncertainty at aging centers in Twin Falls, Idaho. – The College of Southern Idaho’s Office on Aging is expecting a 4.9 percent reduction in budget. But officials there had yet to hear a definitive answer. [Link]
79. Justice impaired in Los Angeles. – The biggest federal court in the nation will close its clerk’s office for seven Fridays over the next few months in order to save money. Chief Judge George King in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles said sequestration will “impair our ability to provide the services that we have been providing.” [Link]
80. Community organizations cut in Kalamazoo, Mich. – Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services’ Lease/Purchase Program will get no funding this year after having received $200,922 in federal funds last year. [Link]
81. Head Start positions lost in Wichita, Kan. – The Head Start program in Witchita is ending services for 74 children and eliminating 10 staff positions due to sequestration. [Link]
82. Tax revenues drop in Taos, N.M. – Local government is not expecting to get $80,000 in compensation for the absence of tax revenue from federally owned public lands. [Link]
83. Housing services cut in New Orleans. – Authorities at the Housing Authority of New Orleans, facing a 17 percent reduction in its housing services budget, recalled 700 Section 8 housing vouchers for rental assistance. [Link]
84. Unemployed warned in Idaho. – The state Department of Labor warned 6,000 extended benefit claimants that their payments would be reduced by 10.7 percent beginning March 31. [Link]
85. Special ed cut in Sacramento, Calif. – Sacramento City Unified School District announced that it would cut special education teacher training and help for low-income families as part of a $2.6 million sequester hit. San Juan Unified, meanwhile, was facing a $830,000 loss in special ed funding, and $920,000 in funds to support low-income students. [Link]
86. Homeless shelters hit in Stillwater, Okla. – Mission of Hope, a shelter in the community, announced that it was losing $12,500 in grant money because of the sequester. [Link]
87. Housing aid chopped in San Benito, Texas. – The San Benito Housing Authority said it would have 88 percent of the budget it had from last year because of sequester. [Link]
88. Small hospitals concerned in southern Illinois. – Local hospital CEOs relayed fears to Rep Bill Enyart (D-Ill.) that they $128,000 in sequester cuts would be debilitating with the state already not making payments. [Link]
89. Housing employees furloughed in Indianapolis, Ind. – Indianapolis Housing Agency announced that it would furlough employees nine days this year in addition to implementing a hiring freeze. [Link]
90. Cuts to essential services Ann Arbor, Mich. – Washtenaw County is grappling with a 5 percent cut to programs that help poor individuals. Mary Jo Callan, director of the Office of Community and Economic Development, estimated that 11,000 fewer meals will be served through the Senior Nutrition Program and 630 fewer people will be helped through the Employment Service Program. [Link]
91. Temporary jobs lost in Anniston, Ala. – The Anniston Army Depot announced it would not renew the contracts of 371 temporary workers past March 30 due to sequester cuts and war drawdown. [Link]
92. Head Start hit in Morris County, N.J. – Head Start Community Program of Morris County executive director Eileen Jankunis said that the program was contemplating turning away 17 to 34 children because of the loss of $113,000 in federal funds. Five teacher jobs were also potentially at risk. [Link]
93. Housing aid hit in northwest Georgia. – The Northwest Georgia Housing Authority Finance Director Phillip Steers told the board about the possibility that it could have to work off of 82 percent of its budget. [Link]
94. Courts closing in Salt Lake City, Utah. – Utah officials announced that they would limit Friday federal court openings beginning in April. Criminal cases will have to be heard on the other four days of the work week. [Link]
95. Housing help cut in Sherman, Texas. – Officials announced that they could lose 31 vouchers from their Section 8 public housing program.[Link]
96. Teachers lose jobs in Granite City, Ill. – The Granite City School Board voted to lay off nine teachers and four district employees at the end of the week to help with budget cuts and a $400,000 sequestration hit. [Link]
97. Horse help reduced in Reno, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management reduced hours at the Palomino Valley National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center near Reno because of budget cuts and low adoption rates. [Link]
98. Fewer spots for medical students in Albany, N.Y. – Hospitals with medical schools anticipate that sequestration won’t let them take on as many students as residents. Officials are warning that in Albany, where there’s a shortage of doctors, there will be fewer residency spots and in the long run, potentially, fewer doctors since residents tend to stay in the area in which they train. [Link]
99. Dirtier restrooms at parks in San Francisco. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s $25 million budget is losing $1.4 million due to sequestration. Due to furloughs and the decision not to fill vacant positions, services such as sweeping, maintenance, trash pickup, restroom cleaning will be reduced. [Link]
100. Cruise passengers inconvenienced on the high seas. – Passengers on a Carnival Cruise ship were forced to wait several hours on board, despite being docked, because of delays at Customs and Immigration. Officials blamed the sequestration for the delays. [Link]