Story by 89 WLS Web Staff
The White House has released state-by-state reports about the effects that a series of automatic federal budget cuts—referred to as the sequester—would have on middle class families across the country if Congress fails to compromise on a budget by March 1.
In the report, White House officials blame Congressional Republicans for refusing to budge on certain factors, claiming that their refusal to raise taxes for the wealthy to help close the deficit will hurt the majority of the country.
"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," the report states.
The Illinois report
details the ways the sequester cuts would impact the state this year. According to the report, Illinois would lose about $33.4 million in education funding, putting 460 teacher jobs at risk, if the sequester goes into effect. The state would also lose approximately $24.7 million in funding for education for children with disabilities, and around 300 specialized teachers, aides and other staff could lose their jobs.
The state would also lose approximately $587,000 in Justice Assistance Grants, which are used to support law enforcement, prosecution, public safety and crime prevention programs. Funding for environmental programs, military bases, employment assistance services, public health programs and senior citizen meal assistance would also be reduced.
The report also highlights some of the national effects of the sequester, including cuts to the FBI and other federal law enforcement, customs, border patrol, aviation security and emergency response agencies. The sequester would also halt or delay federally-funded medical research and delay the FDA's approval of new drugs. Economic development funding, veteran services, public health programs and emergency unemployment benefits would also be cut.
The report urges GOP legislators to compromise with the president to avert these and many other potential consequences of the sequester taking effect.
"Our economy is continuing to strengthen but we cannot afford a self-inflicted wound from Washington," the report states. "Republicans should compromise and meet the President in the middle. We cannot simply cut our way to prosperity, and if Republicans continue to insist on an unreasonable, cuts-only approach, Illinois risks paying the price."