News / USA

What Sequestration Means for Americans and the World

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 -- will be triggered in 2013

The automatic cuts, called sequestration, were part of the August debt agreement that created the supercommittee - and they have many policy experts concerned.

Michael O'Hanlon is a national security analyst at the Brookings Institute, a Washington policy research organization. He says he is adamantly opposed to the deep defense cuts under sequestration. “I think sequestration would be a nightmare for our national security and I hope very much that if indeed it kicks in, that it will be quickly superseded by subsequent action in 2012 so that we don’t start to see the kind of cuts that would otherwise be necessary," he said.

Some lawmakers are already pledging to find a way to avoid sequestration - by passing legislation to cancel the cuts. But the White House said last week President Obama will not accept any measure that stops the automatic cuts.  Republican House Speak John Boehner also said he will oppose any legislation that prevents sequestration.

The cuts will affect not only U.S. citizens, but citizens of other nations, as agencies dealing in foreign aid, trade, immigration, and defense take the blow.

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

Marianne Rowden, president and CEO of the American Association of Importers and Exporters, says automatic cuts could have a significant effect on foreign trade. She says it is not clear if the federal border control agency will be affected by the cuts. Agencies dealing with national security have been exempted from the cuts and the border agency is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Rowden 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. She says sequestration is a definite possibility, with an outcome nearly universally negative.

Some experts say that people applying for visas to visit the United States, or for U.S. citizenship, would see little change. That's because the fees they pay fund the process. However, needed improvements to the system, such as shortening the waiting time for visas, may not happen.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid