White House Report Details Sequestration Impact on Alabama and Tennessee

WASHINGTON (WHNT) -A White House news release that labels Republicans as unreasonable and stubborn is the latest volley in an escalating war of words over sequestration, which threatens to negatively impact the Tennessee Valley.

On Sunday night the White House released information to media outlets breaking down the impact for all 50 states if the automatic budget cuts take effect on March 1, 2013. The Obama administration said Republican congressional leaders should be the ones to blame if the big cuts go through on Friday, citing new numbers that paint a grim picture for Alabama.

The cuts will go into effect if President Obama and Congress can’t agree on another plan to either cut spending or raise funds to help balance the budget. The White House says further tax increases are needed in addition to the ones approved earlier this year. But House Republicans have said they will not agree to any further tax hikes, and said the White House has not done enough to cut excess spending in other areas of the federal budget.

The White House report says if sequestration takes effect, Alabama’s impact for 2013 include:

Teachers and Schools: Alabama will lose approximately $11 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 150 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 21,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 40 fewer schools would receive funding.

  • Education for Children with Disabilities: In addition, Alabama will lose approximately $9 million in funds for about 110 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.

Work-Study Jobs: Around 940 fewer low income students in Alabama would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 280 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.

Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 1,100 children in Alabama, reducing access to critical early education.

Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Alabama would lose about $2 million in
environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Alabama could lose another $1 million in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

Military Readiness: In Alabama, approximately 27,000 civilian Department of Defense
employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $176.9 million in total.

  • Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $91 million in Alabama.
  • Air Force: Funding for Air Force operations in Alabama would be cut by about $8 million.

Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution: Alabama will lose about $230,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

Job Search Assistance to Help those in Alabama find Employment and Training: Alabama will lose about $472,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 16,600 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.

Child Care: Up to 500 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.

Vaccines for Children: In Alabama around 2,110 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $144,000.

Public Health: Alabama will lose approximately $457,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Alabama will lose about $1,180,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 1,600 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Alabama State Department of Public Health will lose about $165,000 resulting in around 4,100 fewer HIV tests.

STOP Violence Against Women Program: Alabama could lose up to $102,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 400 fewer victims being served.

Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: Alabama would lose approximately $865,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.

The state of Tennessee would also see a similar impact:

Teachers and Schools: Tennessee will lose approximately $14.8 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 200 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 32,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 60 fewer schools would receive funding.

  • Education for Children with Disabilities: In addition, Tennessee will lose approximately $11.7 million in funds for about 140 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.

Work-Study Jobs: Around 1,660 fewer low income students in Tennessee would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 720 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.

Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 1,200 children in Tennessee, reducing access to critical early education.

Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Tennessee would lose about $2,211,000 in
environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Tennessee could lose another $1,216,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

Military Readiness: In Tennessee, approximately 7,000 civilian Department of Defense
employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $36.9 million in total.

  • Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $1.9 million in Tennessee.

Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds for Crime Prevention and Prosecution: Tennessee will lose about $367,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

Job Search Assistance to Help those in Tennessee find Employment and Training: Tennessee will lose about $681,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 24,050 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.

Child Care: Up to 800 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.

Vaccines for Children: In Tennessee around 2,590 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $177,000.

Public Health: Tennessee will lose approximately $606,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Tennessee will lose about $1,480,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 700 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Tennessee State Department of Health will lose about $252,000 resulting in around 6,300 fewer HIV tests.

STOP Violence Against Women Program: Tennessee could lose up to $136,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 500 fewer victims being served.

Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: Tennessee would lose approximately $1,031,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.

That same release showed the programs to be impacted nationally:

Security and Safety:

  • FBI and other law enforcement – The FBI and other law enforcement entities would see a reduction in capacity equivalent to more than 1,000 Federal agents. This loss of agents would significantly impact our ability to combat violent crime, pursue financial crimes, secure our borders, and protect national security.
  • Customs and border patrol – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would not be able to maintain current staffing levels of border patrol agents and CBP officers as mandated by Congress. CBP would have to reduce its work hours by the equivalent of over 5,000 border patrol agents and the equivalent of over 2,750 CBP officers.
  • Aviation safety – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would be forced to undergo a funding cut of more than $600 million. This action would force the FAA to undergo an immediate retrenchment of core functions by reducing operating costs and eliminating or reducing services to various segments of the flying community. A vast majority of FAA’s nearly 47,000 employees would be furloughed for approximately one day per pay period, with a maximum of two days per pay period.
  • Aviation security – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would reduce its frontline workforce, which would substantially increase passenger wait times at airport security checkpoints. TSA would need to initiate a hiring freeze for all transportation security officer positions in March, eliminate overtime, and furlough its 50,000 officers for up to seven days.
  • Emergency responders – FEMA would need to reduce funding for State and local grants that support firefighter positions and State and local emergency management personnel, hampering our ability to respond to natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy and other emergencies.

Economic Growth

  • Small business assistance – Small Business Administration (SBA) loan guarantees would be cut by up to approximately $900 million, constraining financing needed by small businesses to maintain and expand their operations and create jobs.
  • Economic development – The Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) ability to leverage private sector resources to support projects that spur local job creation would be restricted, likely resulting in more than 1,000 fewer jobs created than expected and leaving approximately $50 million in private sector investment untapped.
  • Oil and gas permitting – Development of oil and gas on Federal lands and waters would slow down, due to cuts in programs at the Department of the Interior (DOI) and other agencies that plan for new projects, conduct environmental reviews, issue permits and inspect operations. Leasing of new Federal lands for future development would also be delayed, with fewer resources available for agencies to prepare for and conduct lease sales.

Government Services

  • 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.
  • Veterans services – Although the Department of Veterans Affairs is exempt from sequestration, the Department of Labor’s Veterans Transition Assistance Program, which serves over 150,000 veterans a year, would have to reduce operations – leaving thousands of transitioning veterans unserved as they move from active duty to civilian life. The Jobs for Veterans State Grants Program would also experience cuts, translating into a reduction in the capacity to serve tens of thousands of veterans in their efforts to find civilian employment.
  • National parks – Many of the 398 national parks across the country would be partially or fully closed, with shortened operating hours, closed facilities, reduced maintenance, and cuts to visitor services.

Education

  • Title I education funds – Title I education funds would be eliminated for more than 2,700 schools, cutting support for nearly 1.2 million disadvantaged students. This funding reduction would put the jobs of approximately 10,000 teachers and aides at risk.
  • Special education (IDEA) – Cuts to special education funding would eliminate Federal support for more than 7,200 teachers, aides, and other staff who provide essential instruction and support to preschool and school-aged students with disabilities.
  • Head Start – Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 70,000 children, reducing access to critical early education. Community and faith based organizations, small businesses, local governments, and school systems would have to lay off over 14,000 teachers, teacher assistants, and other staff.

Public Health

  • Mental health and substance abuse services – Cuts to the Mental Health Block Grant program would result in over 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and seriously emotionally disturbed children not receiving needed mental health services. In addition, close to 8,900 homeless persons with serious mental illness would not get
    the vital outreach, treatment, housing, and support they need through the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program.
  • AIDS and HIV treatment and prevention – Cuts to the AIDS Drug Assistance Program could result in 7,400 fewer patients having access to life saving HIV medications. And approximately 424,000 fewer HIV tests could be conducted by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) State grantees, which could result in increased future HIV transmissions, deaths from HIV, and costs in health care.
  • Tribal services – The Indian Health Service and Tribal hospitals and clinics would be forced to provide 3,000 fewer inpatient admissions and 804,000 fewer outpatient visits, undermining needed health care in Tribal communities.

WHNT News 19 attempted to contact Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL5) and Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL4) about the White House report, but neither lawmaker was available for comment.



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