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$1.2 Trillion in Budget Cuts Could Kick in March 1

U.S. Capitol
Abir Anwar

In President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday, he talked a bit about the budget, and the need to reduce the deficit. He referenced a series of federal budget cuts set to go into effect in a few weeks.

Sequestration – or the “sequester cuts” – refers to a series of across-the-board federal budget reductions that will be split evenly between defense and domestic spending beginning March 1, unless Congress acts. The $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts are divided evenly over ten years. Robert Bixby is the executive director of The Concord Coalition, an Arlington, Virginia-based non-partisan, grassroots organization advocating responsible fiscal policy. Bixby speaks to what the President was talking about when he mentioned “sequester”.

Bixby emphasizes that sequester cuts are just that, cuts, and not a government shutdown.

Here’s Republican Congressman from New York Chris Gibson.

Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney describes sequestration as, quote, “a fancy word for Congress screwing up the economy for no reason.” He adds that “sequestration is a blunt instrument that was designed to be so bad that nobody would do it.”  Congressman Gibson, meanwhile, says he would have liked to hear President Obama talk more about Simpson-Bowles, a long-term, budget, deficit-reduction plan.

It’s an amendment that Gibson says he has voted in favor of, in different versions, so far, though, there has not yet been enough support.. But what does the Simpson-Bowles amendment have to do with sequestration? Says Bixby:

According to Democrats on the Committee on Appropriations, in addition to cuts to defense, among many other areas, another reduction could come in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund, along with cuts to already-enacted Hurricane Sandy aid – nearly $1.9 billion.