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would be a nightmare for our national security and I hope very much that if indeed it kicks in, that it will be quickly superseded by subsequent action in 2012 so that we don’t start to see the kind of cuts that would otherwise be necessary," he said.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

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid