Administration warns of 'destructive' budget cuts

By Andrew Taylor

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Sept. 14 2012 10:02 p.m. MDT

"No amount of planning can mitigate the effect of these cuts," said the report. "Sequestration is a blunt and indiscriminate instrument. It is not the responsible way for our nation to achieve deficit reduction."

Other cuts would include $5 million from Obama's own office at the White House; $140 million from financial aid for college students; $216 million from efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons; $471 million from highway construction and $1 billion from aid for handicapped and children with other special needs.

The 394-page report, however, simply lists the dollar amount of the cuts but fails to address their real-world impact. For instance, it would cut the number of food inspectors and air traffic controllers on the job. But when asked on a conference call, a top White House official wouldn't say whether such cuts would require closing meatpacking plants or shutting down smaller airports.

"The report makes clear that sequestration would cause great disruptions across many vital services, from cancer research at NIH to food safety efforts at the Department of Agriculture, and public safety at the FBI to lowered military readiness," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the Budget Committee's top Democrat. "It's time to stop the political games and start working together to prevent the sequester, protect the economic recovery and get our fiscal house in order."

The White House has consistently advocated a "balanced" approach to replacing the sequester cuts and noted its submission last fall to the supercommittee and its budget plan in February as its alternatives. Republicans dismissed Obama's budget out of hand.

"The nation deserves to know: Does President Obama truly want to cut almost 10 percent of our national defense at a time when the United States is still under attack from radical forces abroad?" said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.

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