The Sequester

4:03pm

Fri February 22, 2013
It's All Politics

What's The Sequester? And How Did We Get Here?

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 5:26 pm

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (left) answers questions during a briefing with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Friday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

They've been everywhere this week: dire warnings about threats posed by across-the-board federal spending cuts.

Unless Congress acts, the cuts are due to take effect a week from Friday. The administration is trying to drive home the ways that could affect you.

For example, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned Friday that air traffic controllers will have to take unpaid days off beginning in April. Fewer controllers on the job could mean airport delays, and some airlines may decide to cancel flights.

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3:18pm

Fri February 22, 2013
It's All Politics

Sequester In South Carolina: A Tale Of Fighter Jets And Preschools

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:47 pm

Four F-16s from the 77th Fighter Squadron of Shaw Air Force Base fly over Darlington Raceway before a NASCAR race in Darlington, S.C., in May 2012.
Geoff Burke Getty Images for NASCAR

In Sumter, S.C., home of Shaw Air Force Base and the 20th Fighter Wing, cars sport bumper stickers that say, "Jet noise is the sound of freedom."

Throughout the day, F-16s on training runs blast from a runway on base, disappearing into the foggy sky. But if automatic, across-the-board federal spending cuts slated for March 1 go into effect, there will be a lot less of that sound.

"To cut to that level, we just could not pay for the amount of flying hours that we currently have," says Capt. Ann Blodzinski, the base's chief of public affairs.

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9:25am

Fri February 22, 2013
It's All Politics

A User's Guide To Washington Jargon

House Speaker John Boehner held a news conference Feb. 13 in which Republicans promoted the hashtag #Obamaquester to blame President Obama for automatic spending cuts set to kick in March 1.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

It's not as elegant as some languages, but neither is it as impenetrable as, say, an economics textbook or the iTunes user agreement.

"We have our own language on Capitol Hill," says Don Ritchie, head of the Senate Historical Office.

That language — the budget terms and political euphemisms that fly freely through the air in Washington, D.C. — often ends up seeping into the nation's discourse.

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1:06am

Thu February 21, 2013
It's All Politics

Defense Cuts May No Longer Be Political Sacred Cow

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:17 am

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned that the automatic spending cuts due to hit the Pentagon and other branches of government next week will damage U.S. national security.

In a letter to Congress, he said those cuts would put the military on a path toward a "hollow force." But the warnings don't appear to be moving the needle with lawmakers or the American public.

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1:02am

Thu February 21, 2013
It's All Politics

One Place You May Notice The Sequester: At The Airport

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 3:52 am

A passenger jet flies past the FAA control tower at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport in 2011.
Cliff Owen AP

Unless Congress acts, across-the-board spending cuts scheduled to take effect March 1 will be felt throughout the government. Some of the most visible effects will be noticed by air travelers.

Officials predict that cutbacks at the Federal Aviation Administration could lead to takeoff delays and fewer flights overall.

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