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How will New York be impacted by sequestration?

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Buffalo: How will New York be impacted by sequestration?
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The White House has released a breakdown of how each state will be impacted by sequestration. Obama and Congress have until Friday to get a deal, but negotiations do not seem to be going well. Michael Scotto has the details on which programs could be cut.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Police officers and firefighters who responded on 9/11. Victims of Hurricane Sandy. Those are just two groups that could see their lives made even more difficult by the automatic spending cuts set to take effect on Friday.

“Some of the cruelest cuts of all are to our heroes, who answered the call of duty on 9/11 and are suffering the most,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said.

According to the White House, the cuts would also impact a slew of programs critical to people across the state. There would be fewer Head Start slots, less funding to protect the environment and 12,000 civilian furloughs at military bases across the state, resulting in nearly $61 million in lost wages.

“It's going to have a big impact on readiness and it's going to have a big impact on people,” said Norbert Ryan, President and CEO of the Military Officers Association of America.

In total, New York would sustain one of the largest cuts to federal aid, some half billion dollars. But according to Federal Funds Information for States, a group that tracks federal spending, 82 percent of federal funding that goes to states across the country wouldn't be touched since huge programs like Medicaid are exempt. Still, some budget watchdogs say now is not the time for more cuts.

“What would happen under the sequester is that the federal government would shift more of the cost for funding schools and law enforcement and other programs to the state at a fairly critical time,” said Michael Leachman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

No one thought these automatic spending cuts, some $1.2 trillion worth over ten years, would actually happen. They were initially proposed as a threat to get both Republicans and Democrats to reach an agreement on long-term deficit reduction. But when both sides failed to come to a deal at the end of 2011, the cuts became reality and now they're about to kick in.

Republicans and Democrats remain divided over how or whether to stop them. Democrats want to replace some of the cuts with tax increases on the wealthy. Republicans say revenue is out of the question.

“This debt problem and the President's addiction to spending is threatening our future,” said House Speaker John Boehner.

With just a few days to go until the deadline, a deal looks unlikely.

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