WSJ: Drastic Cuts Begin Wednesday Without Fiscal Deal

Monday, 31 Dec 2012 11:55 AM

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Drastic mandatory federal spending cuts will kick Wednesday if lawmakers are unable to reach an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff, The Wall Street Journal reports.

They would affect everything from the military's purchase of mine-resistant vehicles to government food inspections and funding for Secret Service details and rental housing subsidies, the newspaper says.

The cuts come by way of a 2011 law requiring $110 billion in annual spending reductions over nine years to reduce the national deficit, according to the Journal.

“Their severity, representing close to 10 percent of annually appropriated spending, was intended to force Democrats and Republicans to come together on a broader package of deficit-reduction measures, which would replace the cuts,’’ the Journal says.

“That effort failed, raising the prospect of the cuts taking place.’’

Some of the largest parts of the budget are exempt, including benefits under Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and interest payments on federal debt.
While Congress could reverse the sequester, federal agencies must plan as if they are going to happen, Alan Chvotkin of the Professional Services Council — a trade group representing government contractors — told the Journal.

"Every week you wait, the deeper the cuts you will have to eventually make," he said.

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