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WH details 'sequester' cuts for each state

  |   Feb. 25, 2013 at 3:30 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Looming automatic federal budget cuts would devastate programs in every U.S. state, the White House said, a prediction Republicans said was a scare tactic.

"Ohio will lose approximately $25.1 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 350 teacher and aide jobs at risk," the White House said in a report Sunday about the effects of across-the-board federal domestic and military spending cuts set to be automatically triggered Friday and run through the end of the fiscal year in September unless Congress intervenes.

"In Georgia, around 4,180 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza and hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $286,000.

"Pennsylvania could lose up to $271,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 1,000 fewer victims being served. In Texas, approximately 52,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $274.8 million in total," the report said.

The White House's projected consequences of the cuts, known in Washington as the sequester or sequestration, are part of an administration campaign to pressure congressional Republicans to agree to what the White House calls a "balanced plan."

The White House plan includes some domestic program cuts, benefit program savings and additional tax revenue collected from some corporations and high-income people.

Republicans say any plan that would collect more taxes is dead in the water.

The sequester -- established as part of the 2011 deal to raise the federal debt limit -- represents between 2 percent and 3 percent of the government's annual $3.5 trillion budget, and big-ticket programs such as Social Security, Medicare benefits and food stamps are exempt from any cuts.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., told "Fox News Sunday" the administration was engaging in scare tactics and could easily make cuts without having them interfere too much with people's lives.

"There are easy ways to cut this money that the American people will never feel," he said, adding the sequester cuts would "be somewhat painful, but not cutting spending is going to be disastrous for our country."

Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer called the White House report "a public relations stunt."

He said on Twitter Sunday night the administration "should have spent time finding waste, duplicity [and] inefficiencies" in government instead of figuring out the sequester risks to every state and the District of Columbia.

Obama was to speak to members of the National Governors Association about the sequester at 11:05 a.m. Monday during a luncheon at the White House State Dining Room.

Obama plans to go to Newport News, Va., Tuesday to highlight the cuts' consequences.

Obama aides said they would seek to make clear Republicans were choosing to let the cuts go forward instead of agreeing to reduce the deficit by scaling back tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.

"It's important to understand why the sequester is going to go into effect," Obama senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said in a conference call with journalists.

"The Republicans are making a policy choice that these cuts are better for the economy than eliminating loopholes that benefit the wealthy," he said.

"The American people overwhelmingly disagree with that choice," he added. "But in a constitutional government where Republicans control the House, if they want to force that choice on the American people, they have the right to do that."

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