Where's the Sequester? Agencies Skirt Spending Cuts

"Sequestration has been applied unevenly in different agencies. Some places are dealing with significant budget reductions while others have been spared or have deferred the pain. The whole process shows that how hard it is for Congress to slow spending given the creativity of agency heads and the power of external constituencies," said Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

"Those offices that had creative leaders or powerful allies avoided much of the budget pain. It is very difficult to cut government even when there are across-the-board reductions," West said.

READ MORE: Obama Golfs for First Time Since Sequester Cuts

But the sequester hasn't gone away. Nothing has been done to prevent cuts to unemployment benefits, Medicare reimbursements to doctors and hospitals, or a laundry list of federal grants and spending programs that the sequester has trimmed.

There's still some worry and political action surrounding its effects. After a push to highlight budget issues by Organizing for Action, the group that represents the vestiges of Obama's campaign, a Virginia chapter held a "Stop Our Sequester Bake Sale" to raise awareness of education cuts.

"We were hoping it would get a little news media coverage, and we were hoping that it would get people thinking about the sequester that weren't really aware of it. And it would be an opportunity to share with the local community what the impact was," said Albemarle County Supervisor Sally Thomas, who helped organize the event on Saturday.

READ MORE: Foundation to Cover Sequester Cuts to Iraq, Afghanistan Scholarships

"It also was going to be the means for getting we hoped some people to telephone their congressmen," Thomas said. "Each of the baggies of cookies had a little label on it that gave them the telephone numbers for our two senators and for our congressman, Mr. Hurt, and a short message about, asking them to get rid of this sequester."

Rep. Robert Hurt is a Republican, but Virginia's two Senators - Mark Warner and Tim Kaine - are Democrats. Both have spoken out against sequestration already.

The event took place in downtown Charlottesville at the Freedom of Speech Wall, where Thomas and others scrawled anti-sequester messages on the slate behind the table full of baked goods.

Thomas acknowledged that in some cases, it could be tough to see the sequester's effects, even as the cuts are implemented.

"When you cut a federal program sometimes the effect doesn't happen for a while," Thomas said.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 18856233.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...