WASHINGTON (AP) — What does smaller government look like? The budget standoff between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans means Americans may soon find out, and the picture the Obama administration sketches is downright scary.
Cuts in the Navy's Pacific Ocean forces of one-third. Ten thousand teachers laid off. Furloughed food inspectors forcing nationwide closures of meat and poultry plants. A $1 billion reduction in the relief fund for disaster victims. Less secure airline flights and longer waits on airport security screening lines. Reduced monitoring of air pollution, oil spills and hazardous waste.
All this and more because $85 billion in cuts across most federal programs will be automatically triggered on March 1 unless Obama and Republicans do something that's eluded them for months — agree to alternative savings.