Sequestration is becoming more likely every day. There is hope an eleventh-hour deal will be struck, before the automatic cuts come into effect on March 1 — but many economists don’t see that happening.
Lawmakers are scrambling. Some are seeking to hash a deal, while others are hoping to control the PR fallout by pointing fingers across the aisle.
The White House is doing a little but of both. The Obama Administration released a state-by-state report concerning the impacts of sequestration.
The move is already drawing criticism from lawmakers. In a news release, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake called the report a ploy. "The White House is busying itself with these political tactics instead of coming to the table and finding an actual solution," Flake said.
The report is bleak and clear: no matter who is to blame, sequestration will hit the nation hard. Here are striking numbers of how the Southwest will be affected in education and military.
Nationally the White House predicts 70,000 children would lose access to Head Start; 10,000 teacher jobs would be at risk; and funding for up to 7,200 special education teachers, aides, and staff could be cut.
Under sequestration the border would be impacted significantly. The White House states the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would not be able to maintain current staffing levels of border patrol agents and CBP officers as mandated by Congress.
CBP would reduce its work hours by the equivalent of more than 5,000 Border Patrol agents and the equivalent of more than 2,750 CBP officers. California and Texas could face port of entry wait times of five hours or more during peak holiday weekends and travel periods.
At major gateway airports, average wait times could increase by 30-50 percent. At the nation’s busiest airports peak wait times could grow to more than four hours.
If sequestration goes into effect on March 1, the nation will see $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts, which kicks off a $1 trillion cut over the next decade.