How Will the Sequester Affect You

ABC News' Jon Karl tells you what the sequester means for ordinary Americans.
3:07 | 03/01/13

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Transcript for How Will the Sequester Affect You
friday night, the clock is ticking towards midnight and at midnight, the axe will fall on one of the biggest budget cuts in decades. The president today called the cuts dumb and arbitrary, saying they will grind down the u.S. Economy, but there is no crisis. Take a look. The capitol building tonight, quiet. Members of congress have already left town and the halls of congress, as you can see, are empty. Abc's jonathan karl on what happens next. Jon? Reporter: The president had promised spending cuts known as the sequester would never happen, but after meeting with leaders here at the whouts, he said he was basically powerless to stop them. Bruce salatino of rochester, new york will be affected by the cuts. A single father of two, his unemployment check will be slashed by $144 a month. 144 a month is one week much groceries for myse and my two daughters that I live with. So, yeah, it's a significant cut. I'm very concerned. Reporter: Bruce is not alone. Everybody who has been collecting unemployment for more than 26 weeks could get 9% less, affecting about 3.8 million people this year. The white ssued warnings over the past two weeks, that have sounded down right dire. Federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go. We are going to be a nation that is less safe. It's going to be very painful for the flying public. Reporter: Today the president took a step back from the sky is falling warnings. We will get through this. This is not going to be a apocaly apocalypse, as some people have said. It's just dumb and it's going to hurt. Reporter: For most of the country, the impact won't be That's when air traffic controllers will have to take one day off every two weeks.Ivilian employees of the pentagon will be forced to take off one unpaid day every week. The navy legendary blue angels will be grounded, cancelling 28 upcoming air shows. During the campaign, the president flatly declared the cuts would never take place. It will not happen. Reporter: But today he said there was really nothing he could do to stop them. I am not addictator. I'm the president. Somehow, even though most people agree I'm being reasonable, that most people agree I'm presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don't take it, means that i should somehow do a jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what's right. Reporter: In case you thought congress couldn't get any less productive, the cuts will force the closures of some entrances at the capitol building, making it harder for some members of congress to get to work. But as for next steps, there are no next steps. No meetings planned at the white house and no clear path forward. And midnight is coming. Our thanks to you, jonathan ka karl.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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