Members of the American Federation of Government Employees(AFGE) gather during a rally on outside the Department of Labor on March 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. The demonstrators gathered to protest the effects of the government sequester. (AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWS)
Congress speedily agreed to forgo furloughs for air traffic controllers last week after thousands of flights were delayed due to budget cuts following the sequester. But now lawmakers are coming under scrutiny for leaving the less visible, poorer constituents and organizations that represent them behind.
The sequester–a package of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts–went into effect earlier this year after lawmakers were unable to reach a compromise to reduce the country’s deficit. The idea was to put pressure on both sides, with Republicans taking a hit on defense cuts, and Democrats agreeing to cut safety net programs they have long touted. That didn’t happen.
Programs hurt by the sequester include Meals on Wheels, the partially government-subsidized program that delivers hot meals to the elderly and the infirm; the New York City Coalition Against Hunger; cancer programs; public housing assistance programs; special education; and the Head Start program that helps preschool children from low-income families. In addition, many teacher positions have been cut and funding was slashed for thousands of first responders in local communities.
These are not the only programs impacted by the sequester. How it the sequester hurting you? Let us know. Share your experiences in the comment thread below, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter with #unkindestcut. We’ll share the best responses.