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What does sequestration mean? The White House told Congress on Friday that the government spending cuts, scheduled to take effect on March 1, would mean 1,000 fewer FBI officers, mass layoffs of government meat and food inspectors, and huge cuts to federal aid programs aimed at helping hundreds of thousands of low-income women and children. The White House also warned that the spending cuts would have harsh consequences for ordinary Americans.
Sequestration, in its legal sense, simply means automatic spending cuts. But given the recent turmoil surrounding the fiscal cliff, the term has taken on epic proportions. It is a “blunt and indiscriminate instrument that poses a serious threat to our national security, domestic priorities, and the economy,” Danny Werfel, a senior official at the White House budget office, told reporters from Reuters. “It does not represent a responsible way to achieve deficit reduction,” he said.
The United States avoided falling over the fiscal cliff, the combination of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes that were scheduled for January 1, through a last-minute compromise. The deal included a provision that delayed the “sequester,” which was the spending cut element of the cliff, for two months, giving Congress additional time to solve the problem. But as before, Republicans and Democrats are having problems coming to an agreement…
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