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57 ways sequester could sting

February 18, 2013: 3:10 PM ET

I was going to list 58 but figured I had made the point: The sequester would touch many, many government programs and services. These 57 are a somewhat random sampling of what could happen on March 1. (Read this but please also check out my calendar of "fiscal cliff crazy" and new FAQ on the sequester.)


  • All FBI workers furloughed for up to 14 days
  • More than 36,000 Bureau of Prisons workers furloughed for average of 12 days
  • 5,100 Marshals Service workers furloughed for up to 13 days
  • Increased safety risk for prison inmates and staff
  • Fewer firearms inspections


  • Up to 46,000 temporary workers laid off
  • Up to 800,000 full-time civilian workers furloughed for up to 22 days
  • Training curtailed
  • Ship, aircraft, weapons-systems and facilities maintenance curbed
  • Reduced readiness for two-thirds of active Army brigade combat teams and most Air Force flying units


  • Up to 70,000 kids lose access to Head Start programs
  • More than 14,000 teachers and staff laid off
  • Cuts in support for up to 1.2 million disadvantaged students
  • 33,000 fewer students on work-study
  • 71,000 fewer recipients of supplemental grants


  • Reduced oversight and audits of Energy Department nuclear facilities
  • Delayed cleanup of Cold War nuclear weapons sites
  • Curtailed operation at basic science labs
  • Slowdown in development of oil, gas and coal on federal land and water


  • Cuts to foreign and humanitarian aid
  • Reduced ability to help Americans abroad
  • Constraints on counter-terrorism efforts


  • Nationwide shutdown of meat and poultry plants for up to 15 days
  • 2,100 fewer FDA safety inspections of food manufacturers
  • Increased risk of wildfires
  • 1,200 fewer inspections of dangerous workplaces
  • Up to 91,000 lose access to substance abuse treatment
  • 424,000 fewer HIV tests


  • Many frontline law enforcement personnel furloughed for up to 14 days
  • Reduced border security
  • Scaled back cyber security protection of infrastructure


  • 100,000 removed from housing and emergency shelter programs
  • 125,000 may lose benefits from Housing Choice Voucher program
  • 75,000 fewer households get foreclosure prevention, rental, pre-purchase counseling
  • Deferred maintenance and repairs in public housing


  • Training centers for low-income youth may be closed
  • More than 1 million fewer people get help finding a job


  • Reduced hours and services at national parks, refuges and public lands
  • 128 refuges to close or eliminate programs


  • Unemployment benefits cut by up to 9.4%
  • 4 million fewer meals to seniors
  • $160 million cut from state grants to help the disabled get work
  • Cuts to Native American programs, including those aiding neediest
  • 300,000 women and children lose food aid
  • Up to 30,000 kids lose child care services


  • 1,500 temporary Social Security Administration workers let go
  • Loss through attrition of over 5,000 workers
  • Delays for visitors at field offices and 800-number callers
  • 2-week delays for initial disability claims decisions


  • Delays in getting answers to tax questions
  • Fewer tax return reviews
  • Reduced capacity to detect and prevent fraud
  • Fewer counter-terrorism and anti-laundering investigations


  • Increased wait times at airports
  • Delays in visa processing by State Department
  • Reduced air traffic
  • Delays and disruptions during summer travel
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About This Author
Jeanne Sahadi
Jeanne Sahadi
Senior Writer, CNNMoney

Jeanne Sahadi is a senior writer at CNNMoney, where she covers anything with the word "trillion" in it: Specifically, the federal budget, federal debt, federal taxes and federal spending. She tweets at @jjsahadi

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