Where you'll feel forced spending cuts

Bracing for big spending cuts
Bracing for big spending cuts

    JUST WATCHED

    Bracing for big spending cuts

MUST WATCH

Bracing for big spending cuts 03:44

Story highlights

  • The National Park Service would lose $110 million from its annual budget
  • Fewer TSA employees manning busy airports could increase security wait
  • About 70,000 children could be kicked out of Head Start
  • Primary and preventive care could be closed off to hundreds of thousands of Americans
Most Americans will feel the impact of forced budget cuts when their lives intersect with government -- trying to get through airport security to make a flight, visiting a national park, or using federal programs or assistance.
Congress can avert the automatic cuts, called sequester, if it compromises on a deficit-reduction plan before the March 1 deadline.
But time is running out.
No deal would set in motion some $85 billion in spending reductions that would be phased in through the end of the fiscal year, September 30.
Both the House and Senate are on their President's Day break and will have four days to negotiate when they return next week.
Congress extended the deadline for action at the start of the year when Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell agreed to defer the cuts for two months.
Here's where most Americans will feel their impact if sequester takes effect:
National parks
Expect closed gates at some national parks as the National Park Service would lose $110 million from its annual budget. This could also lead to shorter hours, fewer employees, and possible closure of camping and hiking spaces. Even the most popular national parks, such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, wouldn't be spared.
National parks face "damaging" cuts
National parks face "damaging" cuts

    JUST WATCHED

    National parks face "damaging" cuts

MUST WATCH

National parks face "damaging" cuts 00:59
Medicine, food at risk
Medicine, food at risk

    JUST WATCHED

    Medicine, food at risk

MUST WATCH

Medicine, food at risk 01:44
Airport security and air traffic
Proposed cuts to the Transportation Security Administration could mean trouble for air travel. The wait at airport security checkpoints could increase by at least an hour due to furloughed TSA screeners, who check passengers and cargo for bombs, guns and other prohibited items. It could take longer to get through customs as well.
The Federal Aviation Administration manages air traffic at more than 400 commercial airports and cuts raise the possibility of flight delays, especially at crowded airports. The agency has preemptively warned its 47,000 workers of furloughs for one day every two weeks through September. Like the TSA, any furloughs would begin in late April or early May, the start of the busy summer travel season.
Education
The Department of Education budget would also be trimmed. Proposed spending cuts would do the most damage to educational programs that heavily serve low income families. About 70,000 children could be forced out of Head Start, which promotes school readiness for children from birth to age 5. Further cuts to the education budget would also mean less money for schools and districts nationwide.
Obama: People will lose jobs over cuts
Obama: People will lose jobs over cuts

    JUST WATCHED

    Obama: People will lose jobs over cuts

MUST WATCH

Obama: People will lose jobs over cuts 02:04
Public Health
While Medicare and Medicaid will be protected, primary and preventive care, like flu vaccinations, could be closed off to hundreds of thousands of Americans. Cuts to mental health funding will leave over 350,000 Americans untreated.
John King explains: The sequester
John King explains: The sequester

    JUST WATCHED

    John King explains: The sequester

MUST WATCH

John King explains: The sequester 01:35
Food and workplace safety is also in danger. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which ensures safe workplaces and investigates accidents on the job would lose about 1,200 inspections, diminishing its oversight. The forced cuts could also affect food safety -- there could be up to 2,100 fewer food inspections if the cuts are implemented. This could lead to a shortage of meat in our markets, as the sale of unchecked meat is prohibited.
Crime and justice
Federal prosecutors will have to close some cases if cuts are imposed. Federal courts will see a quarter of their employees furloughed and jury trials could be suspended because there will be no money to pay juries.
U.S. justice system in jeopardy
U.S. justice system in jeopardy

    JUST WATCHED

    U.S. justice system in jeopardy

MUST WATCH

U.S. justice system in jeopardy 01:36
John King explains: The sequester
John King explains: The sequester

    JUST WATCHED

    John King explains: The sequester

MUST WATCH

John King explains: The sequester 01:35
The Department of Homeland Security could lose up to 5,000 agents at the border and the Pentagon would furlough thousands of defense workers. According to FBI Director Robert Mueller, the FBI would lose 2,285 employees.
Unemployment benefits
Long term unemployed also stand to lose big. Under the proposed spending cuts, benefits are expected to decrease by 10% or, on average, $400 a month. This cut will affect 3.8 million Americans, who use these benefits to pay for food and housing while trying to find jobs in a damaged economy. The proposed cuts will also limit resources at job finding centers, a move the could heavily damage the livelihood of those who are already struggling.