Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Report: Sequestration could mean $115M loss for Los Angeles

Los Angeles City Hall

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The city of Los Angeles could take a $115 million hit if the federal government moves ahead with severe spending cuts in March.

The city of Los Angeles could experience a $115 million financial hit if Congress fails to reach a financial agreement that would avert sequestration this spring. 

About $92 million of that would come from housing and housing assistance programs. Another $23 million would disappear from community development and public safety programs. This week’s Congressional action pushed sequestration – automatic spending cuts – to March 1.

“The impacts of sequestration to the city are very much a possibility if Congress fails to act on a plan to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years by March 1, 2013,” City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana wrote in a report to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles City Council.

The specific programs he listed in the report include:

  • Section 8 Housing
  • Community Development Block Grants
  • Community Oriented Policing Services
  • Byrne Justice Assistance Grants 

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CA Senator Boxer cautiously optimistic Congress can avoid going over the fiscal cliff

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AP Photo

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. expresses some optimism that Congress and the White House can avert the fiscal cliff. Negotiations between the sides continued before the midnight Monday deadline.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden worked overnight on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. But Monday morning, Majority Leader Harry Reid said “a number of issues” still divide Democrats and Republicans.

Just what’s in the agreement isn’t clear. Reporters aren’t the only ones in the dark.

Senator Barbara Boxer says only a couple of people really know what’s in the proposal. She says she's hearing "leaks about it, we’re hearing rumors about it, we don’t know if we’ll have the deal."

The Democrat from California says it’s important not to prejudge the package before anybody sees it. On the Senate floor, Boxer urged bipartisan discussion. "One party doesn’t run the show," she said. "It is shared responsibility. It is frustrating. It is difficult."

She pointed out the example of one bipartisan success in 2012: a two-year transportation bill hammered out with the GOP leader on her committee, James Inhofe of Oklahoma. "You couldn’t find two people more philosophically apart than we are."

Boxer – who spent a decade in the House – urged John Boehner to follow the example of former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neil, who understood that the magic number of 218 meant votes from either side of the aisle. She said Speaker Boehner, "who I know and like personally, but it seems like he doesn’t want to talk to the Democrats. Nothing is going to get done for our country if we don’t talk to each other."

Boxer said she was “cautiously optimistic” Congress will be able to find a deal that’s “fair enough” to avoid the cliff. 

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Attention federal workers: fiscal cliff or not, come to work Jan. 2

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Kitty Felde/KPCC

Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood) says she's optimistic that a deal can be reached to avert the fiscal cliff.

If Congress can’t come up with an agreement by Monday night, we go over the fiscal cliff. That means not only higher taxes, but also automatic cuts to defense and domestic programs.

What could that mean for federal employees? There are about 150,000 of them in California — about a third of them in the defense industry.

If we go over the fiscal cliff, federal employees do have to report for work Jan. 2 and beyond. Budget cuts could mean furloughs, but federal workers will get at least 30 days notice.

The Office of Personnel Management — essentially the human resources department for the federal government — has posted fiscal cliff guidelines on its website, including answers to the most frequently asked questions.

But here are a couple of notes: If you’re furloughed, you can’t swap it out for sick leave or vacation days. And even if you love your job so much you want to “volunteer” and work for free, you can’t.

As for the chances of avoiding a fall off the cliff, Democratic Congresswoman Linda Sanchez of Lakewood says she’s optimistic. She's getting on a plane to join her colleagues in Washington for a rare Sunday session.

"We don’t know if there will be a deal," said Sanchez, "but we’re being called back, my sense is, in the event that there is a deal that gets put together. We’re hopeful that can happen and I’m optimistic that a deal can get done because it’s not that tough! It just requires a little bit of give and take."

Happy New Year? We’ll have to wait and see.

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