32 dumbest, most devastating sequester cuts

The 2013 budget sequester is like a houseguest that we sort of semi-invited a couple of years ago, who then took us up on the invitation and moved in, ate everything in our refrigerator and then emptied our piggybank. And now, we don’t know how to make him leave.

Everybody hates the sequester–well, at least they publicly claim to–but no one was willing to do anything about it. And now, we’re stuck with a passel of cuts that President Obama has called “dumb.”  Congressional Republicans, on the other hand, are calling the sequester a “modest home run,” presumably because it advances their ultimate cause of destroying the government programs they detest. The rest of us–Main Street Republicans included–expect these programs to help us in our daily lives, even if we don’t enjoy paying for them. So, there will be pain and anger when these cuts kick in, unless Congressional Republicans start facing the reality that a country needs revenue in order to serve its citizens’ actual wants and needs.

Before the sequester took effect on March 1, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget sent an 83-page letter to Republican House Speaker John Boehner, listing the dangerous cuts that the $85 billion sequester would necessitate. Think Progress went through the letter and has highlighted 32 of the most painful and ill-advised of the cuts. Here’s their list:

Health care

$20 million cut from the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs
$10 million cut from the World Trade Center Health Program Fund
$168 million cut from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
$75 million cut from the Aging and Disability Services Programs


$199 million cut from public housing
$96 million cut from Homeless Assistance Grants
$17 million cut from Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS
$19 million cut from Housing for the Elderly
$175 million cut from Low Income Home Energy Assistance

Disaster and Emergency

$928 million cut from FEMA’s disaster relief money
$6 million cut from Emergency Food and Shelter
$70 million cut from the Agricultural Disaster Relief Fund at USDA
$61 million cut from the Hazardous Substance Superfund at EPA
$125 million cut from the Wildland Fire Management
$53 million cut from Salaries and Expenses at the Food Safety and Inspection Service


$13 million cut from the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan Program (Co-ops)
$57 million cut from the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control
$51 million cut from the Prevention and Public Health Fund
$27 million cut from the State Grants and Demonstrations
$44 million cut from the Affordable Insurance Exchange Grants program


$633 million cut from the Department of Education’s Special Education programs
$184 million cut from Rehabilitation Services and Disability Research
$71 million cut from administration at the Office of Federal Student Aid
$116 million cut from Higher Education
$86 million cut from Student Financial Assistance


$512 million cut from Customs and Border Protection
$17 million cut from Automation Modernization, Customs and Border Protection
$20 million cut from Border Security Fencing, Infrastructure, and Technology


$79 million cut from Embassy Security, Construction, and Maintenance
$604 million cut from National Nuclear Security Administration
$232 million cut from the Federal Aviation Administration
$394 million cut from Defense Environmental Cleanup