News / USA

Economic Slow Down Predicted As Sequester Looms

Economy Slow Down Predicted As Sequester Loomsi
X
February 22, 2013 12:38 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to take action to prevent $85 billion in automatic spending cuts -- known as the "sequester" -- from going into effect on March first. The sequester deadline resulted from a battle over raising the debt ceiling in August of 2011. Congress and the president agreed on a future threat of severe mandatory budget cuts as a way of forcing action to cut the national deficit. But the threat did not work, and now, the cuts are poised to happen within days -- unless Congress finds an elusive compromise to cut spending. VOA Congressional Correspondent Cindy Saine has the story.]]
Cindy Saine
U.S. President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to take action to prevent $85 billion in automatic spending cuts -- known as the "sequester" -- from going into effect on March first.   The sequester deadline resulted from a battle over raising the debt ceiling in August of 2011.  Congress and the president agreed on a future threat of severe mandatory budget cuts as a way of forcing action to cut the national deficit.  But the threat did not work, and now, the cuts are poised to happen within days -- unless Congress finds an elusive compromise to cut spending. 

Democrats and Republicans in Washington are once again approaching a showdown over how to reduce the national debt -- with Republicans calling for cuts in domestic spending programs and Democrats asking that tax loopholes be closed on the wealthiest Americans.

This time, the Republicans who control the House of Representatives are threatening to let the cuts take effect. “The sequester will be in effect until there are cuts and reforms that put us on a path to balance the budget over the next 10 years, period!” explained House Speaker John Boehner.

President Obama is warning the cuts would be brutal.

"These cuts are not smart. They are not fair. They will hurt our economy," Obama stated. "They will add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment roles. This is not an abstraction. People will lose their jobs."

Democratic Congressman Steny Hoyer blames Republicans.

"Thousands of Americans will lose their jobs or be furloughed, including teachers, researchers, law enforcement agents and military contractors.  Everyone should be clear that sequestration is a Republican policy," he said. "And it is a bad policy."

But some Republicans, like Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, think the sequester does not really go far enough.

"Few people understand that the sequester does not even cut government spending.  It just slows the rate of growth," he noted.

The Defense Department says troop training and maintenance of aircraft and ships would be delayed or suspended if the cuts take effect.

And some 800,000 civilian defense workers would each be forced to take one day a week off -- without pay.

Some economists say the cuts could have a ripple effect on the entire economy -- and on services Americans depend on. 

"A lot of workers will have to be furloughed from their jobs and those workers perform jobs like inspecting the safety of our food and water," said Joan Entmacher, an expert on family economic security.

Since U.S. federal law mandates inspection of meat, poultry and egg products, production of those commodities will shut down on days inspectors are furloughed.  Mark Dopp of the American Meat Institute says the furloughs would not threaten the safety of American meat but would have a big impact on the economy.

"Not only does it affect the inspectors who are furloughed, it would affect the more than 500,000 people who work every day in meat and poultry processing facilities, from the slaughter facilities to the processing facilities," said Dopp. "It would also effect the more than one million cattle, hog and turkey producers..."

With only a few days left until the cuts take place, it is not clear whether President Obama will, once again, invite congressional leaders to the White House to try to hammer out a compromise budget deal.

You May Like

Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 23, 2013 3:30 PM
As a Canadian I get extremely concerned when things do not go well in the US. Day by day, I continue to see the US economy struggling. The politicians need to stop granstanding and dealing with peripheral issues! Time to face reality and get to the core of the economic problems: increases in productivity, that do not result also in increases in employment are just indicative that the sit for workers continues to deteriorate, bad for US workers very bad for US economy; globalization continues to have a negative impact on many US producers, the EU faces same sit, because the global producers are not abiding by fair trade practices; US producers must regain, at least, the internal US markets, to continue producing jobs for Americans; the internal markets must be restructured, so that US producers have at least the environmental protection, labour standards protection, safety standards protection, footprint advantage over the global producers. The global producers are destroying the environment; producing, in many cases dangerous products; under dangerous labour conditions; and using huge amounts of non-renewable hydrocarbon fuels to get the products to the US. The population at these global producers are being impacted extremely negatively by the producers discharging toxic contaminants with few controls, thus having/damaging air, water, food contaminated, containing massive amounts of toxic chemicals. By allowing their products into US markets, in fact, not only US jobs are lost, but the US is contributing to the terrible conditions beeing generated at the global producer nations. It is insane to continue supporting this bad type of globalization. Bad for US workers and bad for global producer populations.

by: Michael Wing from: Indiana
February 22, 2013 9:53 AM
When will all the hand wringing end? There are no cuts taking place. There is a potential reduction in the rate of growth for the projected fiscal years. We will still spend more money in all areas than we did last year. This Chicken Little 'Sky is falling!' routine needs to come to a halt. And Mr. President, the blame game is also getting toresome. Calling it a Republican policy is simply wasting time and energy. The record shows that your people proposed it, Republicans and Democrats voted for it, and you signed it into law. Telling us that we passed it because we knew we couldn't allow it to occur is as silly as Nancy Pelosi telling us we needed to pass the Health Care bill so we could find out what was in it. It's time now to stop campaigning, quit trying to scare the American people into supporting your one-sided approach, and start governing. Leaders lead - they don't stand and whine until they get their way. Start leading.

by: Shannyn Svendsen
February 22, 2013 9:30 AM
Sad that instead of having a Presidential leader that can say "we can do this!", we have a President that uses fear tactics to minimize the possibility of securing even a paltry 2% cut in federal spending.

My expectation -- $20 trillion in debt by the time Barack leaves office. I I am encouraging my children to move abroad rather than shoulder the immense debt that Barack and Bush have placed upon our country. The US is on its decline -- and opportunities for growth and development are easier to find abroad.

by: Joan Secrest from: Ft. Myers, FL
February 22, 2013 9:24 AM
THis economy has already come to a stop. If you voted for Obama, you are getting what you deserve. I have no sympathy anymore. The AMerican people (many more than once) voted for this and they are getting it. millions of AMericans that were working when he was first elected are not working now. Less are working every month. He is doing nothing and blocking the REpublicans from doing what we know works. He continues to do what we know won't work. If the press supports him and will not allow the truth to be told. America is done.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More