Sequestration: Americans warned to brace for cuts

February 21, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
For the employees in the Federal Courthouse in Downtown Fresno, sequester could mean furloughs, even layoffs. Court cases could be stalled, along with Federal law enforcement duties.

Every level of government including city hall and schools could be pinched, because of something nobody thought would really happen.

Republican Congressman Devin Nunes said, "But here we are and I believe the sequester is going to take place, to be honest with you it's tough to make cuts."

Congressman Nunes supports budget cuts, but opposed setting up the blunt cuts of the sequester. He is now worried about the possibility of nearly $500 million in cuts to military spending.

"What I'm most concerned about is the department of defense, and I think we need to act to give some flexibility to the department of defense budget," said Congressman Nunes.

The cuts would presumably take a bite from nearby Lemoore Naval Air Station, even slow passenger air service at Fresno's airport if federal TSA employees are laid off. Fresno County schools are expecting cuts in special education programs, and Head Start.

Economics Professor Nathan Smith at Fresno Pacific University believes the federal deficit needs to be reduced but notes that the sequester cuts could have unforeseen consequences.

Professor Smith explained, "Say food inspectors might be laid off you could run into a situation where you have trouble distributing food because food hasn't been inspected the proper way."

Congressman Nunes believes some compromises could occur in the weeks after sequester.

"At the end of March the government runs out of money again, so we are going to have to pass an appropriations bill so we could do some minor modifications in that bill but for the most part the $85 billion in cuts that's got to happen in the next six months I think that's going to happen," said Congressman Nunes.

Since most of the federal budget goes to pay people and they put that money into the economy, there are fears the sequester spending will push the country back into recession.


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