Budget Cuts

11:45am

Thu February 28, 2013
It's All Politics

$85 Billion Versus $42 Billion: The New Sequester Argument

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 12:01 pm

Just how much will the sequester cut? It depends on whom you ask.

The White House has been saying spending will be reduced by $85 billion this year, unless the automatic spending cuts set to take effect Friday are averted.

The Congressional Budget Office, however, just released a new report saying the cuts will only amount to $42 billion.

Why do they differ so much?

They don't, really. It's a technical difference, more than anything.

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9:35am

Thu February 28, 2013
It's All Politics

How Washington Chose Not To Be Careful With Spending Cuts

Under sequestration, federal agencies don't have the flexibility to choose to spare popular programs or services by making administrative cuts elsewhere.
Tatiana Popova iStockphoto.com

Inconveniencing the public is part of the plan.

It may never have been intended to play out in quite this way, but the automatic spending cuts set to take effect for most federal programs Friday leave little room for preserving the most visible and popular programs.

"The law basically says the cuts have to be across-the-board by 'project, program and activity,' " says Stan Collender, a federal budget expert with the communications firm Qorvis. "That was specifically written to take away flexibility from the administration."

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6:29am

Thu February 28, 2013
The Two-Way

Countdown To The Sequester: 3 More 'Should-Read' Stories

Will the clouds part, the sun shine and a sequester solution be found?
Jason Reed Reuters /Landov
  • NPR's Tamara Keith on where things stand
  • NPR's Brian Naylor on the sequester and aviation safety
  • KCUR's Frank Morris on meat inspections

Friday's deadline looms, and as we heard earlier today on Morning Edition: "Oh, it's gonna happen."

The "it" is sequestration — $85 billion worth of across-the-board federal spending cuts that are due to start kicking in at the end of Friday unless Republican and Democratic leaders somehow bridge their differences.

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9:46am

Wed February 27, 2013
It's All Politics

Why The Budget May Be Easier Criticized Than Cut

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 10:28 am

The U.S. Capitol is seen Tuesday, three days before the government sequester is scheduled to begin. It would require $85 billion in across-the-board government spending cuts over the next seven months, but would not target specific programs.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

If it seems odd that so many members of Congress have such trouble coming up with specific things to cut from the budget (apart from the usual favorites, "waste" and "fraud), perhaps they're simply taking their cues from their bosses, their constituents.

The Pew Research Center studied this in a recent poll, and found that of 19 different budget categories, there is majority support for cutting spending in exactly none of them.

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4:14pm

Tue February 26, 2013
The Sequester: Cuts And Consequences

Advocates Warn Sequester Could Mean Big Cuts For The Low-Income

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 5:05 pm

A nutrition specialist prepares a Meals on Wheels delivery in upstate New York. The national organization says the sequester could mean significant cuts in the number of meals they serve to homebound seniors.
John Moore Getty Images

Many programs affecting low-income Americans — like food stamps, Medicaid and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families — are exempt from across-the-board spending cuts set to go into effect March 1.

But many other programs are not, and that has service providers scrambling to figure out how the budget stalemate in Washington might affect those who rely on government aid.

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