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Tracking Sequestration Across the Nation

New Jersey Public Television show “NJ Today” featured a story on how a local Meals on Wheels program is in danger because of the sequester.

The sequester. It’s the term used to describe a series of across the board federal spending cuts, and a topic that has dominated political talk in Washington since the elections. At the beginning of March the cuts began to kick in when President Barack Obama and members of Congress were unable to work out a deal. As a result, by the end of the fiscal year, $85 billion in automatic reductions to both defense and domestic spending will take effect.

Not all federal programs are getting equal treatment when it comes to the reductions. When lawmakers first approved the cuts in August 2011 they exempted a number of programs including Social Security and veterans’ benefits. More recently, Congress gave the Federal Aviation Administration greater flexibility to administer cuts after public outcry over flight delays from furloughs to air traffic controllers. Now, two months after the reductions began, other agencies are starting to feel the impact.

A meals on wheels program based in New Jersey won’t be hiring any new workers or adding more routes, in anticipation of the automatic budget cuts. Member station New Jersey Public Television featured the report Monday, on their show NJ Today.

In Oklahoma, officials are expecting a variety of cuts to social programs, the National Weather Service and public health. The Head Start program in Central Oklahoma is facing a cut of $600,000, which will have an impact on the number of children admitted to the program and cost at least seven teachers their jobs. Member station OETA has a full report on the sequester’s impact in Oklahoma.

PBS member station OETA produced a report on the sequester’s impact in Oklahoma, from head start programs to the National Weather Service.

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Stay tuned for more sequester coverage from our member stations. Watch Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour for a report on sequester cuts across the country.

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