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12 Ways the Sequester Will Screw the Poor


When Congress agreed on automatic slash-and-burn spending cuts in 2011—if no big bipartisan deficit reduction package could be achieved—the cuts were designed to be so unpalatable that Republicans and Democrats would feel compelled to concoct a better deal to replace them. President Barack Obama says avoiding the deep cuts, called sequestration in DC-speak, should be a "no-brainer." But Republicans are increasingly saying the sequester won't be so bad. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said Thursday that the $85 billion in cuts "would really help a long way and get us on a sustainable fiscal path."

report Sunday emphasizing the ways in which the cuts will hurt the middle class, but although important entitlement programs such as Medicaid, Social Security, and food stamps are exempt from sequestration, many programs for low-income families are on the chopping block. Here are 12 of them:  

Public housing subsidies:$1.9 billion in cuts would affect 125,000 low-income people who would lose access to vouchers to help them with their rent.

Foreclosure prevention:75,000 fewer people would receive foreclosure prevention, rental, and homeless counseling services.

Emergency housing:100,000 formerly homeless people could be removed from their current emergency shelters.

Educational programs: $2.7 billion in cuts. The $400 million slashed from Head Start, the preschool program for poor children, would result in reduced services for some 70,000 kids.

Title I Funding:$725 million in cuts.

Rural rental assistance:10,000 very low-income rural people, most of whom are single women, elderly, or disabled.

Social Security:massive backlogging of disability claims.

Unemployment benefits:3.8 million people getting long-term unemployment benefits would see their monthly payments reduced by as much as 9.4 percent, and would lose an average of $400 in benefits over their period of joblessness.

Veterans services:150,000 vets a year.

Nutritional Assistance for Women & Children:600,000 women and children would be cut from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, which provides nutrition assistance and education.

Special education:$978 million* in cuts would affect 30.7 million children. For example, the scaling back of federal grants to states for students with disabilities would mean that cash-strapped states and districts would have to come up with the salaries for thousands of teachers, aides, and staff that serve special needs kids.

Job training programs:$37 million would be slashed from a job retraining and placement program called Employment Services, and $83 million would be cut from Job Corps, which provides low-income kids with jobs and education.

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