A White House report says the impact of the sequester – $1.2 trillion in automatic, across-the-board federal spending cuts – would be harsh in Pennsylvania.
The 7 and-a-half pager details the effects Pa. and the country would feel in 2013, including $26.4 million cut in primary and secondary education plus 26,000 furloughs for civilian employees in the state’s many military installations.
The full report is here.
A George Mason University study showed that Pa. ranks 7th nationally in job losses from the sequester, should it go into effect for fiscal years 2012 and 2013: 78,454.
Congress has until March 1 to pass a plan to avoid the sequester, which lawmakers approved in the debt ceiling deal in summer 2011. The Obama report is heavy on blame for Republicans.
The language isn’t exactly subtle. It says, “many Republicans in Congress refuse to ask the wealthy to pay a little more by closing tax loopholes so that we can protect investments that are helping grow our economy and keep our country safe. By not asking the wealthy to pay a little more, Republicans are forcing our children, seniors, troops, military families and the entire middle class to bear the burden of deficit reduction.”
Republicans in Congress have sought to blame the President for the cuts, especially over the weekend when noted journalist Bob Woodward laid the sequester at Obama’s feet. And Obama signed the Budget Control Act just as Republicans voted for it.
But their shared role in originating the sequester doesn’t show up in public polls, which have shown that most Americans would blame Republicans for the cuts – which were specifically designed to be as painful as possible to force a compromise. So far, no luck.
Meanwhile, Tom Corbett and other Governors have called on Congress to pass a plan to mitigate the sequester.
“Frankly, I think the Hill ought to be saying, ‘We’re ready to sit down and work on a budget right now, and we will go through it line by line,’” Corbett told Politico during this weekend’s meeting of the National Governors Association in DC. “That’s what you’ve got to do. That’s what we do as governors.”
Some conservatives are downplaying the impact of the sequester, saying it affects only a small portion of projected federal spending.
The Heritage Foundation says the plan wouldn’t even help the long term deficit.
“Not one of these cuts will address the dominant underlying cause of growth in government spending: entitlements,” the group wrote.