A drop in participation and lower-than-expected food prices allowed a supported food program for low-income pregnant women and children to get through this year without having to take away anyone’s benefits. A second round of automatic sequestration cuts could mean some women with toddlers lose coverage next year.
To avert furloughing air traffic controllers and disrupting airline flights this year, Congress shifted $253 million in automatic cuts to airport construction funds. Those funds are needed to meet a requirement to install runway safety areas at all airports by 2015, so that pot of money won’t be available to bail out controllers again.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said agency budget chiefs “squeezed everything to get through the first year thinking we would come to our senses.”
However, most of those accounting maneuvers were one-time steps. The automatic spending cuts in 2014 promise to be far more painful.
For now, Congress has frozen 2014 spending at 2013 sequestration levels while negotiators seek a budget deal that would ease some of the automatic cuts. Absent a deal, the spending “caps” on agency operating budgets will shrink by another $20 billion or so, with most of that money squeezed out of the Pentagon.
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.