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The sequester cuts will be in place for a decade, unless Congress acts to repeal them. A tax deal at the end of 2012 pared back this year’s cuts. Next year’s are on track to be larger.
Davis said, “That’s where the ax chops off our heads.”
When school starts this fall, more than 500 preschoolers in Minnesota will lose their access to Head Start and 120 employees will lose their jobs with the program designed to give children from low-income families a leg up on kindergarten.
The program already cannot meet the need. In Hennepin County alone, 2,400 children participate in Head Start, but another 1,000 are on waiting lists. Now administrators there are planning to cut at least 14 staff and 90 class slots for children. That makes White uneasy.
“It’s not only for children,” she said. “It affects us a lot as parents.”
The entire country felt the sequestration’s sweep in April, when furloughs of air traffic controllers triggered major flight delays. Complaints spurred Congress to pass a bill that allowed the Department of Transportation to transfer a quarter of a billion dollars to keep airport towers staffed.
Rowan, the head of Metro Meals on Wheels, said cuts to other programs should rile Congress just as much. When fiscal year 2014 begins on Oct. 1, $91 billion in federal spending must be cut, along with $18 billion in mandated cuts in programs such as Medicare.
“The only changes that I can hope for is Congress … making some foxhole budget solutions that don’t balance the budget on the backs of people that can afford it the least,” Rowan said.
Corey Mitchell is a correspondent in the Star Tribune Washington Bureau. Twitter: @C_C_Mitchell