Jason Furman (pictured), deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, said that automatic budget cuts, known as the sequester, will harm those least able to help themselves as they will threaten vital services for children, seniors, and the mentally disabled.
In a conference call with national online media outlets, including NewsOne, Furman said the impacts of budget cuts might not be immediate or drastic but will grow to hurt Americans as time goes on.
“Every day, the cost of the sequester will go up,” Furman said.
The sequester is a series of across-the-board federal budget cuts designed to trim about $85 billion over less than a year. The first of the cuts are to begin today.
While many programs will face some cuts of about 9 percent, others like Social Security checks, Veteran’s Administration programs, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, food stamps, and Pell grants will not be cut.
Furman said the cuts could eventually lead to hundreds of thousands of jobs, mostly in the private sector, being lost. He added that while the initial impact might be slight, the cuts will eventually sting.
For example, Furman said that if you are a doctor who is paid through Medicaid reimbursements, the cuts won’t affect you until April. It’s the same case with federal workers who receive furlough notices, which generally have a 30-day delay before they take effect, he said.
“Even if (the cuts) don’t hit instantly, you still have repercussions…,” Furman said.
Furman laid blame for cuts on Congressional Republicans whom he accused of “moving the goalposts” during negotiations with President Obama by refusing to close tax loopoles used by the wealthy.
Over the past few weeks, President Barack Obama and Republican Congressional leaders have been playing the blame game for failing to reach a compromise and avert the cuts.
At a news conference today, Obama said Republicans are trying to maintain benefits for the rich.
House Speaker John A. Boehner, a Republican, told reporters that while his party disagrees with Obama about what should be cut, the House would seek to avoid a government shutdown in late March by passing a temporary funding resolution.
Just months ago, Obama and Republicans bargained down to the last minute to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” which like the sequester, promised across-the-board budget cuts experts said would hurt average American families.
But there was no last second bargaining among government leaders to avoid the sequester. In fact, members of Congress left town Thursday so Washington observers knew no last minute deal was coming this time around.