A s lawmakers argue over how to reduce the federal deficit, deep cuts continue to loom over the heads of already-suffering Americans.
$85 million in across-the-board, forced budget cuts are set to go into effect on Friday, Mar. 1, and much of those spending cuts will have a wide-reaching impact on Ohioans and jobs in the Buckeye state.
"Middle class Ohioans and lower-income Ohioans will pay the price if the Republicans continue to stand in the way of a balanced fiscal approach," said Congresswoman Kaptur, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. "Congress should be focused on job creation, not job destruction."
According to the White House, if the cuts go through, social services across the country will be impacted greatly. However, Congressional Republicans are questioning whether their counterparts are painting a grim picture as a way to force them to accept a deal that would include more tax increases for wealthy Americans.
"This is no time to play politics. I hope when we return to Washington, Republican leadership gets serious and takes action on a balanced plan to avert these damaging and mindless cuts. Our economy shouldn't have to endure any further uncertainty, obstruction, and delay. Too much is at stake," Kaptur said.
Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said fellow Republicans have voted twice to replace Pres. Obama's plan with "smarter spending cuts."
"The White House needs to spend less time explaining to the press how bad the sequester will be and more time actually working to stop it," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told reporters.
So, what is at stake for Ohio? According to a report released by the White House on Sunday, a lot:
Military Readiness: Approximately 26,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by approximately $161.4 million in total. Army base operation funding would be cut by approximately $1.9 million in Ohio and Air Force operations in Ohio would be cut by approximately $3 million.
Teachers and Schools: Ohio will lose approx. $25.1 million for primary and secondary education, putting approx. 350 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition, approx. 34,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 100 fewer schools would receive funding.
Education for Children with Disabilities: Ohio will lose approx. $22 million in funds for approximately 270 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.
College Aid and Work-Study Jobs: Approximately 3, 320 fewer low-income students in Ohio would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and approx. 1,450 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.
Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approx. 2,500 children in Ohio, reducing access to critical early education.
Law Enforcement and Public Safety: Ohio will lose approx. $455,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.
Job Search Assistance: Ohio will lose approx. $1,786,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral and placement, meaning approximately 57,100 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.
Child Care: Up to 800 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.
Vaccines for Children: A funding cut of approx. $344,000 would translate into approx. 5,040 vaccines for Ohio children to protect against diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B.
Violence Against Women Grants: Ohio could lose up to $245,000 in funds to provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 900 fewer victims being served.
Nutrition for Seniors: Ohio would lose approx. $823,000 in funds for meals for seniors.
Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Ohio would lose approx. $6.8 million in funding to ensure clean water and air quality and prevent pesticide and hazardous waste pollution.
Public Health: Ohio would lose approx. $1.1 million to upgrade response to public health threats such as infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological disasters. In addition, Ohio will lose about $3.3 million in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in approximately 4,200 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Ohio Department of Health will lose approx. $302,000 in approx. 7,600 fewer HIV tests.