It's interesting to watch a word outgrow the ranks of Roget's and get called up to the major lexicon of public policy. " Sequester " is the latest spotlight-stealer to be plucked from its humdrum dictionary days into the glamourous world of bureaucratic buzz. Seduced by slick politicalization, the term now evokes an expectant dread and national financial situation, whether overstated or underestimated.
Simply, "the sequester" is a collection of cuts in federal spending that are fixed to fire on Mar. 1. For all the warnings and nail biting, it's unclear exactly how bad the cuts are going to be. Much of the scenario planning and prediction is penciled in with approximate time frames and speculated figures.
In California, defense, education, public health, and the environment could be hardest hit, but the potential carnage is not limited to those arenas. From senior meals to meat inspectors to park service, the state is bracing for impact.
Sometime before midnight on Friday, President Obama is expected to issue a sequestration order. At that point, Congress will be notified and federal agencies will activate their reduced-funding operation plans. Short of aborting the entire sequester plan or striking a behemoth deficit deal, some version of this will happen.
POSSIBLE SEQUESTER SCENARIOS IN CALIFORNIA
- TBD number of people released from immigrant detention centers .
- 5 percent cut to federal funding of University of California research and student aid. ( Press-Telegram )
- 5.8 percent cut to federal funding of California Department of Education. ( Press-Telegram )
- $980,000 cut to Pacific Asian Consortium for Employment in LA. ( L.A. Times )
- 120 Pre-school students may not be able to go to school. ( L.A. Times )
- $1 million cut to 23 Head Start centers in Ventura County. ( Ventura County Star )
- $600 million in cuts for the Federal Aviation Administration, which is looking to reduce hours at Ontario Airport and potentially close airports in El Monte, Riverside, Victorville, Palmdale, Oxnard, Santa Monica and Lancaster.
- TBD TSA personnel laid off or furloughed. ( Press Telegram )
- TBD dollars lost in Amtrak funding. ( OC Register )
- Thousands of civilian employees furloughed at military bases throughout Southern California. ( Ventura County Star )
- $134 million cut to National Park Service that may feel like twice that. ( KCET )
- One month or longer delay in opening Yosemite's Tioga Pass road into the park.
- 10 percent cut for Garden Grove housing authority. ( OC Register )
- 15,000 low-income families in L.A. lose monthly housing subsidies. ( L.A. Times )
- $5.5 million cut for County of San Bernardino housing authority, which provides housing to 31,000 people and already has a waiting list of 35,000 families. ( Press-Telegram )
- More ( The White House )
SEQUESTER TIMELINE: Scroll through to see the all of the events.
- Sequester: Southland defense contractors scale back even before automatic spending cuts
- The Sequester: Decrying 'dumb, arbitrary cuts,' Obama says 'We will get through this'
- Fact check: The White House's top 5 California sequestration cuts
- Sequester: Yosemite access road could stay closed, hurting mountain towns along 395
- Southern California scientists fear the effect of sequestration cuts on medical research
- White House warns of dire impact of sequestration on California
- Dueling sequester scenarios
- Obama's sequester gamble: What if nobody notices?
- In immigration news: Reform roadblocks, how sequester affects immigration, what constitutes a 'secure' border, more
- After years of cuts to California early childhood programs, will sequester add more pain?