News / USA

Sequestration Effects Will Reach Beyond US Borders

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, fends off reporters as he arrives to meet in the Capitol Hill office of Sen. John Kerry, and other Supercommittee members in Washington, Nov. 21, 2011
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, fends off reporters as he arrives to meet in the Capitol Hill office of Sen. John Kerry, and other Supercommittee members in Washington, Nov. 21, 2011

Now that the bipartisan congressional "supercommittee" has failed to agree on a plan to cut $1.2 trillion from the U.S. government's deficit, across-the-board budget cuts - $600 billion from domestic agencies, $600 billion from the Department of Defense - are expected to go into effect automatically, beginning in 2013.  The automatic cuts, called sequestration, were part of the August debt agreement that created the supercommittee - and they have many policy specialists concerned.  Sequestration would affect not only U.S. citizens, but citizens of other nations, as agencies dealing in defense, foreign aid, foreign trade, and immigration suffer budget cuts.

What Happens if the supercommittee fails?


    - $1.2 billion in cuts split equally between defense and non-defense spending are triggered.

    - Estimated at $55 billion in each type of spending per year from 2013 through 2021.

    - Social Security, Medicare, and other programs exempt from cuts.

    - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warns cuts could leave U.S. military with its smallest ground force since 1940s.

    -The automatic spending reductions are known as "sequestration."

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has repeatedly expressed his fear that cuts to the Pentagon budget will force job cuts among civilian positions and historic reductions in ground forces.

Some lawmakers are already pledging to find a way to avoid sequestration - but U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday that he will veto any legislation designed to avoid the cuts without providing the required deficit-cutting plan.

Sequestration could have a heavy impact on organizations that rely on U.S. government funding to provide foreign aid, after years of strain to provide services in a weak global economy. Katie Porter, the deputy director of government relations for the aid agency CARE, says cuts would have a deep impact on CARE's work in the Horn of Africa, where it serves refugees from violence and famine.

"When you think about a 20 percent reduction or more in those assistance funds, not just emergency food assistance but development, the tools we use to help individuals prepare for future disasters, that will have a tremendous impact on the million-plus people we're currently serving," Porter said.

Marianne Rowden, president and CEO of the American Association of Importers and Exporters, says the cuts could also have a significant effect on foreign trade. She says it remains to be seen whether the federal border control agency will be affected by the cuts or, as a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will be exempted under a provision protecting agencies dealing with national security.

She says the Food and Drug Administration could react to budget cuts on import and export regulation by charging importers and exporters "user fees" for regulatory services. But she says she believes the effect of the automatic cuts would be nearly universally negative.

"I think the automatic cuts, while I understand where they're coming from, that if politicians cannot compromise, everybody's going to sacrifice," Rowden said.

Brittney Nystrom, director of policy and legal affairs at the National Immigration Forum, says this crisis could take valuable funding from programs that are already suffering. On the other hand, she says, sequestration could foster desirable cuts in immigration-related programs that she says are over-funded anyway.

"It's my opinion that there are actually several places that could benefit from a reassessment in terms of what we're getting for the money we're spending," Nystrom said.

She says big savings could result from reforms to the immigration detention system. Nystrom adds that the system could substantially reduce the 400,000 people it processes each year by detaining only people who are flight risks and not those who abide by the law.

In the 13 months between now and the time the cuts go into effect, Congress could still come up with a workable plan to cut the required $1.2 trillion from the deficit and avoid sequestration. President Obama on Monday expressed hope that will happen. But, at present, uncertainty hangs over Washington.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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