The White House released new state-by-state reports Sunday on the impact the sequester will have on jobs and middle class families across the country if Congress fails to avert the sequester by March 1st.
In another triangle of tussle between the White House, Senate Democrats and House Republicans over federal spending between now and October, the end of the federal fiscal year, that resembles previous such showdowns as occurred in 2011 and just two months ago, in the quixotically named “fiscal cliff,” the $85 billion in federal funds at stake will take a bit out of the nation and each state, a bite everyone including the warring factions say will be as devastating as they are unavoidable.
In information that the White House embargoed until Sunday evening, President Obama warns Congress that it must act by March 1st if a series of automatic cuts—called the sequester—are to be avoided.
Hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs, cuts to vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness, and soldiers in uniform will be impacted, the White House said, offering a state-by-state list of where the spending cuts will land.
For Ohio, the biggest battleground state that assured President Obama a second term if he won it and historical oblivion to Mitt Romney if he lost it, the costs could be as much as $230 million and five-thousand or more jobs.
President Obama understands the threat a burgeoning deficit holds for the nation, but the White House so deficit reduction should be done in a balanced way that protects investments that the middle class relies on. Pushing back of Congressional leaders like House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky who accuse the president of birthing the sequester idea even though each of them and their conferences voted for it, the White House is again laying the blame for what damage will befall the nation if House Republicans, who appear guided in spirit more by Tea Party movement foes of government than by GOP moderates, insist on letting March 1 come and go without voting to stop the draconian cuts that were designed to be so distasteful that compromise would be in play.
What the Republicans are saying
Speaker Boehner’s office is blaming the sequester on President Obama, saying it’s “a product of the president’s own failed leadership.” They blame Senate Democrats for not having passed a budget in four years either and say the House voted to replace the president’s sequester in May 2012 and again last December, targeting waste and fraud that would help balance the budget in 10 years.
Congressional Republicans say now as they did last year that government spending, not revenues, is the problem, and that President Obama is MIA in the legislative process.
President Obama, as he did in last year’s successful run to win the popular vote for the second consecutive time, a feat only a handful of presidents accomplished last century, claims he’s already worked with Congress to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion.
President Obama told news media Sunday that he’s put forward a balanced plan to not only avoid the harmful effects of the sequester but also to reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion in total. The President’s plan meets Republicans more than halfway, the White House said, noting that it includes twice as many spending cuts as it does tax revenue from the wealthy.
“Unfortunately, many Republicans in Congress refuse to ask the wealthy to pay a little more by closing tax loopholes so that we can protect investments that are helping grow our economy and keep our country safe,” Sunday’s report said. “By not asking the wealthy to pay a little more, Republicans are forcing our children, seniors, troops, military families and the entire middle class to bear the burden of deficit reduction.”
Rehashing the very same arguments that were debated in last year’s presidential election, which tallied a record of $6 billion in election cycle spending, President Obama said he is determined to cut spending and reduce the deficit in a balanced way, but won’t stick the middle class with the bill, which he says will undercut their and the nation’s economic security.
“Our economy is continuing to strengthen but we cannot afford a self-inflicted wound from Washington. Republicans should compromise and meet the President in the middle. We cannot simply cut our way to prosperity, and if Republicans continue to insist on an unreasonable, cuts-only approach, [states like] Ohio risk paying the price.
If sequestration were to take effect, some examples of the impacts on Ohio this year alone are:
Teachers and Schools: Ohio will lose approximately $25.1 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 350 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 34,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 100 fewer schools would receive funding.
Education for Children with Disabilities: In addition, Ohio will lose approximately $22 million in funds for about 270 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.
Work-Study Jobs: Around 3,320 fewer low income students in Ohio would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 1,450 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.
Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 2,500 children in Ohio, reducing access to critical early education.
Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Ohio would lose about $6,865,000 in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Ohio could lose another $981,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.
Military Readiness: In Ohio, approximately 26,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $161.4 million in total. Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $1.9 million in Ohio. Air Force: Funding for Air Force operations in Ohio would be cut by about $3 million.
Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution: Ohio will lose about $455,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.
Job Search Assistance to Help those in Ohio find Employment and Training: Ohio will lose about $1,786,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 57,100 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.
Child Care: Up to 800 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.
?? Vaccines for Children: In Ohio around 5,040 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $344,000.
Public Health: Ohio will lose approximately $1,102,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Ohio will lose about $3,310,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 4200 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Ohio State Department of Health will lose about $302,000 resulting in around 7,600 fewer HIV tests.
STOP Violence Against Women Program: Ohio could lose up to $245,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 900 fewer victims being served.
Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: Ohio would lose approximately $823,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.
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