The White House argued today that if cuts to domestic programs mandated by sequestration go into effect, there could be “outbreaks of foodborne illness” in the country.
The cuts go to defense and domestic programs go into effect March 1 unless averted by Congress, but the White House is focusing on domestic cuts to push its campaign-era message of effects to the middle class.
“Already, the President has worked with Congress to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion, but there’s more to do. The President believes we can not only avoid the harmful effects of a sequester but also reduce the deficit by $4 trillion total by cutting even more wasteful spending and eliminating tax loopholes for the wealthy,” the White House said in a release today.
“Unfortunately, many Republicans in Congress refuse to ask the wealthy to pay a little more by closing tax loopholes so that we can protect investments that are helping grow our economy and keep our country safe. Our economy is poised to take off but we cannot afford a self-inflicted wound from Washington. We cannot simply cut our way to prosperity, and if Republicans continue to insist on an unreasonable cuts-only approach, the middle class risks paying the price.”
The administration proceeds to detail cuts and their projected effects, including “70,000 young children would be kicked off Head Start, 10,000 teacher jobs would be put at risk.”
“Outbreaks of foodborne illness are a serious threat to families and public health. If a sequester takes effect, up to 2,100 fewer food inspections could occur, putting families at risk and costing billions in lost food production. …If a sequester takes effect, up to 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and seriously emotionally disturbed children could go untreated.”
The White House details other expected reactions to sequestration, including the Justice Department needing to “furlough hundreds of Federal prosecutors” and National Institutes of Health cuts that would “delay progress on the prevention of debilitating chronic conditions.”
“The cuts to operating expenses and expected furloughs at the IRS would result in the inability of millions of taxpayers to get answers from IRS call centers and taxpayer assistance centers and would significantly delay IRS responses to taxpayer letters,” the White House continued. “…Federally-assisted programs like Meals on Wheels would be able to serve 4 million fewer meals to seniors.”
The release also claims program cuts “could result in increased future HIV transmissions” and put moore than 100,000 formerly homeless people back on the street.