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Politics


So what will sequestration do to Ohio?
Even the politicians who designed it aren't sure
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
In The Region:

Ohio’s Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is sure major federal budget cuts set to begin Friday will hurt Ohio. But as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, he acknowledges he isn’t certain how soon it will hurt or how much.

SCHULTZE: Sherrod Brown tries to figure out the sequester

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Sequestration is an old legal term that’s only been a part of America’s political vocabulary for about 25 years – and a big part of America’s political consciousness for about 25 days.

Technically, Congress has known since the summer of 2011 that is was facing across-the-board cuts of about 8 percent in defense discretionary spending, 5.3 percent in non-defense discretionary spending and 2 percent in Medicare.  But across-the-board is not as clear as it may seem.

For example, FAA nighttime operations at Akron-Canton and Youngstown airports could be curtailed; but not at Cleveland Hopkins.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown went through a litany of other “could bes” – from Wright-Patterson Air Force base to health research on a conference call with reporters.

“Just any place that has significant federal involvement, and that’s not just military bases and NASA centers. It’ll probably affect lines at the airport, it might affect the number of flights, therefore affecting the airlines, therefore affecting suppliers to the airlines. It could affect schools and first responders because of the federal money involved there. It’ll affect NIH grants, and … and then how do you restart a clinical trial?”

Republicans have said Democrats are exaggerating. Ohio’s GOP Sen. Rob Portman was on the committee that came up with the sequester, but said last fall he thinks it was a mistake. And this week, he said he hopes to give the Defense Department more discretion in where cuts fall. 

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