Budget cut warnings may prove harsher than reality

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 16, 2013 at 11:02 am •  Published: February 16, 2013
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—Food and agriculture: About 600,000 low-income pregnant women and new mothers would lose food aid and nutrition education. Meat inspectors could be furloughed up to 15 days, shutting meatpacking plants intermittently and costing up to $10 billion in production losses.

—Homeland Security: Fewer border agents and facilities for detained illegal immigrants. Reduced Coast Guard air and sea operations, furloughed Secret Service agents and weakened efforts against cyberthreats to computer networks. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief fund would lose more than $1 billion.

—Education: Seventy thousand Head Start pupils would be removed from the prekindergarten program. Layoffs of 10,000 teachers and thousands of other staffers because of cuts in federal dollars that state and local governments use for schools. Cuts for programs for disabled and other special-needs students.

—Transportation: Most of the Federal Aviation Administration's 47,000 employees would face furloughs, including air traffic controllers, for an average of 11 days.

—Environment: Diminished Environmental Protection Agency monitoring of oil spills, air pollution and hazardous waste. The color-coded air quality forecasting system that keeps schoolchildren and others inside on bad-air days would be curtailed or eliminated. New models of cars and trucks could take longer to reach consumers because the EPA couldn't quickly validate that they meet emissions standards.

—State Department: Slow security improvements at overseas facilities, cuts in economic aid in Afghanistan and malaria control in Africa.

—Internal Revenue Service: Furloughed workers would reduce the IRS' ability to review returns, detect fraud and answer taxpayers' questions. It offered no specifics.

—FBI: Furloughs and a hiring freeze would have the equivalent impact of cutting 2,285 employees, including 775 agents. Every FBI employee would be furloughed 14 workdays.

—Interior Department: Hours and service would be trimmed at all 398 national parks, and up to 128 wildlife refuges could be shuttered. Oil, gas and coal development on public lands and offshore waters would be diminished because the agency would be less able to issue permits, conduct environmental reviews and inspect facilities.

—Labor: More than 3.8 million people jobless for six months or longer could see their unemployment benefits reduced by as much as 9.4 percent. Thousands of veterans would lose job counseling. Fewer Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors could mean 1,200 fewer visits to work sites. One million fewer people would get help finding or preparing for new jobs.

—NASA: Nearly $900 million in cuts, including funds to help private companies build capsules to send astronauts to the International Space Station.

—Housing: The Department of Housing and Urban Development said about 125,000 poor households could lose benefits from the agency's Housing Choice Voucher program and risk becoming homeless.

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Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein, Dina Cappiello, Matthew Daly, Philip Elliott, Sam Hananel, Mary Clare Jalonick, Richard Lardner, Joan Lowy, Andrew Miga, Lauran Neergaard, Stephen Ohlemacher and Pete Yost contributed to this report.