Passengers standing in security lines at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Texas. (file photo)
The White House has released a breakdown of the impact of looming automatic “sequester” spending reductions, which would affect virtually all sectors in the US.
The published report revealed which areas would be affected by the USD 85 billion cuts, if bitterly divided lawmakers cannot agree on a deal before Friday.
The White House wrote that within education there would be reduction in aid to schools, equivalent of salaries for 10,000 teachers and 7,200 specialists for children with disabilities.
An additional 14,000 teaching positions would be lost, after excluding about 70,000 children under the age of five from the Head Start preschool program.
It is also reported that an estimated 7,170 fewer children would receive vaccines included in the immunization program.
According to White House, up to 12,000 scientists and students will be affected when the National Institutes of Health and other federally-funded research will be delayed or halted.
For air passengers, the average wait time at customs after arriving to the US would increase by 30 to 50 percent and it is predicted that during peak times at major airports it might exceed four hours.
At the same time, security lines are expected to grow longer as the Transportation Security Administration would issue hiring freeze, eliminate overtime and temporary layoff 50,000 employees for up to seven days.
About 800,000 civilian employees at the Defense Department would receive one-day shorter workweek and as well a 20 percent cut in salaries.
Critics say that President Barack Obama’s Democrats and rival Republicans are too busy blaming each other instead of trying to focus on reaching a deal.
The sequester was put together in a 2011 law to force the government to drastically cut costs over the next 10 years if the lawmakers were unable to decide on a more moderate deficit reduction package.