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Why the sequester would be terrible for California and New York

The sequester is nearly upon us.
U.S. President Barack Obama discusses the automatic budget cuts scheduled to take effect next week, while in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex in Washington February 19, 2013. If Congress...
U.S. President Barack Obama discusses the automatic budget cuts scheduled to take effect next week, while in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower...

The sequester is nearly upon us.

With an aggressive package of automatic spending cuts set to take effect at week's end, the White House is issuing stern warnings, highlighting what would happen in all 50 states and Washington D.C. if Congress fails to intervene.

Democrats and Republicans are at an impasse. The left has a plan that would essentially delay the sequester until January and replace it with a $110 billion package (half in tax increases and half in spending cuts). The GOP, which is working on its own plan, has said it won’t accept any type of bargain that includes new taxes.

GOP lawmakers, meanwhile, are arguing the Obama Administration is exaggerating what would happen and ringing the panic alarm. The Dems say the right is using the cuts to favor America’s wealthiest and avoid lowering tax breaks.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the biggest cuts, according to the White House, and how it'll hit with particular force in big states like California, New York, and Texas.


Funding for primary and secondary education would be slashed, ranging from $533,000 in D.C. to a jaw-dropping $67.8 million in Texas. Jobs are also at risk for teachers and aides, with the hardest hit states in California (1,210 jobs at risk), Texas (930 jobs at risk), Florida (750 jobs at risk) and New York (590 jobs at risk). That would affect 187,000 students in California, 172,000 in Texas, 95,000 in Florida, 54,000 in Georgia, and 70,000 in New York. Head Start, the federally-funded community program for low-income families with pregnant women, infants, and toddlers up to 3 years of age, would also be affected. The White House estimates the number of affected kids at 8,200 in California, 4,800 in Texas, and 4,300 in New York.

Child care:

The number of children with access to care would decrease, especially in states like New York (2,300 kids affected), California (2,000 kids affected), Florida (1,600 kids affected), North Carolina (1,300 kids  affected)  Georgia (1,100 kids affected), and Illinois (1,100 kids affected).

National defense:

In Virginia alone, 90,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed. California and Texas would be close behind with 64,000 and 52,000 civilian job furloughs. There would also be big Army funding cuts, noticeably $233 million in both Georgia and Texas and $146 million in Virginia.

Public health:

Emergency funding for public health threats (like infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical and radiological events) would also be cut. That ranges from $57,000 in D.C. to $2.6 million in California. There would also be a decrease in grants to fight and treat substance abuse, and a decrease in the number of HIV tests (49,300 in California). There’d also be cuts to vaccines, including measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, tetanus and Hepatitis B for children. Again, the hardest hit state would be California ($1.1 million in spending cuts, which results in 15,810 less vaccines), followed by Texas, Florida and New York. In battleground Ohio, 5,040 fewer children would receive vaccines.

Job-search help:

With the nation still fighting a 7.9% unemployment rate, job assistance programs are oftentimes crucial in catapulting Americans back to work and to get further training. Funding losses per state for job search assistance programs range from $66,000 in cuts in Maryland to $3 million in California.  There’d also be big cuts in Ohio (1.8 million), Michigan ($1.7 million) and Illinois ($1.4 million).

Law enforcement:

States would lose lots of money in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention, community corrections, drug treatment, crime victim and witness initiatives, and more. Hardest hit are California ($1.6 million lost),  Texas ($1.1 million lost),and Florida ($970,000 lost).

 Other programs affected include work-study jobs, nutrition assistance for seniors, the STOP Violence Against Women Program, and programs for clean air and water.  For additional information on invididual states, go to

For more on the sequester, and which side will budge first, tune into Hardball at 5 and 7 p.m. ET. We'll have msnbc political analyst Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post and Joy Reid of on to weigh in.