The Department of Energy, the EPA, and the U.S. military are among the federal and construction programs now feeling the effects of the Sequester’s $4 billion in mandatory budget cuts that began on March 1st, according to recent article on ENR.com.
A report to Congress by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) outlines cuts made by the Sequester. Here’s a quick look at where they’ll be felt most.
Hardest hit by the cuts are the states still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, with the $50 billion already approved by Congress for natural disaster relief earmarked for reduction. Specifically, New York, New Jersey, and others will see $545 million trimmed from the $10.9 billion designated for post-Sandy emergency transit aid.
The $4 billion also includes defense construction cuts to all four branches of the U.S. military totaling $856 million. State Department embassy security, construction, and maintenance received a $79 million reduction in funding, although no mention was made to specific military or State Department construction projects that are slated to be scaled back.
Among noteworthy non-defense specific construction cuts, the Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works program was cut by $250 million, although they are allowed to decide where to apply these cuts. The EPA’s water infrastructure program saw a $210 million reduction, as well.
Despite the scope of the cuts from federal programs, several areas were spared, including infrastructure accounts that are wholly or partially backed by trust funds and exempt from the Sequester (most federal-aid highway funding, all Airport Improvement Program construction grants, and some transit aid), and all Veterans Affairs programs.
Barring Congressional modification, these cuts will remain in place through the end of the current fiscal year (Sept. 30), though March 27 marks the expiration of a part-year appropriations measure funding all government operations. President Obama said he would support a follow-on continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown.