What is the Sequester Anyway?

Not sure what all the sequester hoopla is about? This primer should help sort out why the $85 billion in federal spending cuts might start kicking in Friday, March 1.

As elected officials in Washington, D.C., continue to wrangle over the budget and deficit, some Floridians find themselves trying to figure out just what the sequester is and what the $85 billion in federal spending cuts might mean to them.

The sequester was agreed to back in 2011 as part of the Budget Control Act. The agreement stated if Congress couldn’t reach a deal to cut spending and reduce the federal deficit on its own, the across-the-board cuts would go into effect, according to Forbes.

Fast forward to 2013 and there’s no deal in sight. The Democrats want to see a combination of spending cuts and tax increases enacted. The Republicans say there have been enough tax increases already and budget woes should be handled through more targeted spending cuts, according to ABC News.

If a deal isn’t struck by Friday, March 1, the sequester kicks in. While it delivers those spending cuts the Republicans want, the sequester was designed to create across-the-board cuts of 10 percent. This means wiggle room to keep spending in certain areas higher won’t be available.

An exact time table for cuts related to the sequester isn’t readily available but ABC News is reporting furlough notices for federal workers could start going out as early as March 4. By March 27, the federal government will technically run out of money. For more details, see ABC’s full story.


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