Deal to avoid massive spending cuts not likely

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

It could mean across the board cuts to the defense department, education, medicare and all other discretionary programs.

Congress and the president have until Friday to come up with a plan to avoid $85 billion in automatic spending cuts, also known as the sequester.

"This is a situation where Washington has been kicking the can down the road. No one has wanted to make a tough decision, let's kick it down some more, let's kick it down some more," said financial consultant Don McNay.

The Defense Department would probably feel the cuts the most, it is facing a 13 percent cut in funding.

All other discretionary programs will be cut by around 9 percent.

The sequester does not include cuts to essential programs like social security, medicaid and the food stamp program.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cuts could reduce public and private sector employment by 750,000 jobs this year alone.

Both Democrats and Republicans agree that sequestration is bad, but when it comes to a deal both sides are not budging.

"Look: the choice we face isn't between the sequester and tax hikes. Remember, we're only talking about cutting 2 to 3 percent of the budget. Any business owner or middle-class parent will tell you it's completely ridiculous to think Washington can't find a better way to cut 2 to 3 percent of the federal budget at a time when we're $16 trillion in debt," said Senator Mitch McConnell.

"It is a question of when you do it and how you do it. And right now certainly I don't think the time is right for significant cuts, and certainly if you do it with a meat axe approach which takes it across all programs without regard to the impact of those programs is really stupid," said Congressman John Yarmuth.

In Kentucky, there would be cuts to education, the Head Start program, law enforcement and even vaccinations for more than 1000 children.

The cuts would go into effect over a period of time, so many say the effects would not be immediately felt.

Congress is also facing another deadline on March 27th. That's when lawmakers are required to approve a new spending plan before the short term funding measure runs out.

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