Business, Economics and Jobs

Furloughs and sequestration: Who will suffer?

US President Barack Obama speaks to the media about sequestration in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, March 1, 2013 following a meeting with US Speaker of the House John Boehner and Congressional leaders.
Credit: Saul Loeb

Sequestration, a word you may be tired of hearing by now, will become a damaging reality in coming weeks when it takes effect after 11:59 p.m. Friday.

"People are going to be hurt," President Barack Obama said during a White House press conference Friday afternoon.

Not as badly hurt as they may have been by the potential effects of January's dreaded fiscal cliff, Obama conceded. But one of the most painful things about sequestration is that it's entirely unnecessary, having been created solely as a prod to force Congress toward partisan cooperation.

A prod that appears to have failed miserably, due — according to Obama — to the obstinance of Republicans.

"This is not going to be an apocalypse," the president said. "It’s just dumb.” Obama is expected to sign the sequester order by the end of Friday night.

So who will suffer?

Furloughs could be one of the most obvious impacts of sequestration. More than 1 million federal employees, across departments, could have their work hours cut back by at least one day per pay period.

Annual budgets for government defense programs would be effectively cut by about 13 percent, while those for nondefense programs face reductions of 9 percent.

A wide variety of government services — from public parks to food inspection — would be cut back, with programs for public health, education, scientific research and economic development also affected.

Law enforcement would see staffing cuts, while emergency responders would lose funding. The Federal Aviation Administration would lose more than $600 million, leading to furloughs for the majority of its workers.

Looking to find out how the sequester will affect you? The White House website has detailed state-by-state descriptions of the cuts set to go into effect. Scroll to the bottom of the page here to find the links.

[View the story "Hello, sequester" on Storify]

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