An Update from Capitol Hill – March 6, 2013

On March 1, the across-the-board cuts to domestic discretionary programs were triggered. How long the cuts will remain in force is uncertain, and the immediate effects on any given program also are unclear, given the different spending and allocation patterns of federal programs. As an entitlement, the child support program is protected from the sequester, but other child support grants, federal staffing and associated federal travel may be affected, depending upon available resources and the duration of the sequester.

The cut of approximately 5.3 percent has been applied to all domestic discretionary programs. The cuts are condensed into the remaining seven months of the federal fiscal year, resulting in a real cut of about nine percent. Human services programs subject to the cut include Workforce Investment Act programs, Older Americans Act Programs, Child Care Development Block Grant, non-IV-E child welfare services, and the Social Services and Community Services Block Grants, to name a few.

The federal government faces a March 27 deadline when federal funding expires under the six-month extension of all federal appropriations for FFY 2013, given that Congress failed to adopt any appropriations measures last fall. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and President Barack Obama have, at this stage, agreed that steps to modify or stop the sequester should not stand in the way of enacting a bill funding overall federal government operations.

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