The automatic across-the-board cuts known as “sequestration” began on March1 and the White House wants you to know how these cuts will hurt Ohio.
Sequestration is the fallout from the 2011 deal between Congress and President Barack Obama to increase the nation’s debt ceiling. At that time and since, leaders from both parties have admitted that sequestration is bad policy because it cuts all domestic programs except for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veteran’s programs. The thinking was when it was passed that these cuts were so egregious that sequestration would be repealed and replaced with reasoned, balanced deal to cut the deficit. Partisanship in Washington remains more important than progress and it wasn’t repealed let alone replaced.
These cuts will be a slow burn and most Americans won’t notice any changes for weeks or months. For instance, most of the 26,000 civilian Defense Dept. employees in Ohio who will be put on ten to 20 day furloughs must be given a minimum of 30 days notice before being furloughed.
The White House issued a memo one week ago which outlines some of the fallout specific to Ohio. Among the cuts expected are:
- $161 million in pay for those civilian Dept. of Defense employees in the state removed from the economy due to furloughs
- 4,700 low income families will lose rental housing vouchers
- $25 million in lost funding for K-12 public education
- $22 million in lost funding for public school instruction of disabled kids
- 1,450 fewer work study jobs for Ohio college students
In the last newsletter we reported that Senate Democrats were offering up USDA guaranteed payments as part of a replacement deal for the sequester. That bill is going nowhere for now. Republicans are dug in that there will be no further tax increases as part of a better deal. Both that Senate bill and a proposal the president has floated include closing certain tax loopholes affecting the wealthy and large, profitable corporations. The GOP is calling such tax reforms “increasing taxes” for now. The stalemate continues. The military and most vulnerable pay.