The White House has painted a stark picture of what life will look like if the $85 billion sequester --automatic across the board spending cuts --is allowed to kick in on March 1.
Unless Congress and President Barack Obama can work out a deficit reduction plan before then, a White House fact sheet released Friday provided some depressing details of the consequences. It said the sequester would result in 70,000 children kicked off Head Start. It would put 10,000 teacher jobs "at risk." Funding for 7,200 special education teachers and staff would be cut. There would be fewer food inspectors, according to Roll Call.
There would be 373,000 people losing access to mental-health treatment. Cuts would mean 1,000 fewer federal agents at the FBI and other federal agencies. It would mean thousands of furloughed workers, including hundreds of federal prosecutors which would mean fewer criminal prosecutions. It would also mean thousands of fewer federal research grants at the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, Roll Call wrote.
That's just a small sampling of the devastation that the fact sheet outlined. Of course, releasing those details is a move seemingly designed to put pressure on Congress. Obama and Congress are far apart on making a deal. Obama is calling for "a balanced" approach to trimming the deficit, which means a mix of tax revenue and spending cuts. But GOP leadership is demanding cuts.