Automatic cuts that are imposed across the board to federal programs, from the Pentagon budget for buying guns, ships and planes to the National Weather Service's equipment for forecasting hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe weather. It's part of the drive to cut the deficit.
How deep are the cuts?
The reductions total $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The first-year cuts are $110 billion, split evenly from defense and domestic programs, from a budget of $3.8 trillion. Many programs, however, would be exempt from the cuts.
What programs would be spared?
Social Security, Medicaid, supplemental security income, refundable tax credits, the children's health insurance program, the food stamp program and veterans' benefits. The White House said last week that President Barack Obama would exempt military personnel from the cuts.
What about Medicare?
The government-run health care program for seniors would face a 2 percent cut in Medicare payments to providers and insurance plans. That works out to a reduction of $11 billion next year.
Source: Associated Press
If sequestration were to take effect, some examples of the impacts on Florida this year alone are:
Teachers/Schools: Florida will lose approximately $54.5 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 750 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 95,000 fewer students would be served and approximately130 fewer schools would receive funding.
Military: In Florida, approximately 31,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $183.2 million in total.
Food Safety: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could conduct 2,100 fewer inspections at domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture food products while USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) may have to furlough all employees for approximately two weeks.