Governors join White House to fight automatic cuts
WASHINGTON (AP) - Governors from both parties are warning of the damaging impact if the White House and Congress fail to reach a deal to stave off across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect on Friday that could undermine the fragile economic recovery now under way.
The grim picture is emerging as the White House and lawmakers count down the days until the government is forced to trim US$85 billion (S$105.2 billion) in domestic and defence spending with hardly any leeway to save some programmes from the budget knife. This will lead to furloughs for hundreds of thousands of workers at the Transportation Department, Defence Department, and elsewhere.
The so-called sequester now approaching was never supposed to happen. It was designed as an unpalatable fallback, to take effect only in case a specially established bipartisan congressional super-committee failed to come up with US$1 trillion or more in savings from government programmes.
"It's senseless, and it doesn't need to happen," said Maryland's Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley, during the annual meeting of the National Governors Association this weekend. "This really threatens to hurt a lot of families in our state and kind of flatline our job growth for the next several months."