Sequestration hits close to home - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Sequestration hits close to home

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STATEWIDE -

The impact of sequestration can be felt from law enforcement, to food, to flight here locally.

Airports in Tuscaloosa, Dothan and Mobile could face possible closure, and that Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport could lose a night shift.

"It's really hard to determine the impact of sequestration on Birmingham," Toni Bass with Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport says.

More than 250,000 people use the airport each month.  Right now, Bass is unsure of any lasting impact on those travelers who pass through the Magic City.

A $600 million Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding cut and furloughs would mean fewer air-traffic controllers and fewer flights.

The Travel Security Administration (TSA) would have to function with fewer workers, which would mean longer lines at airports.

"Whatever the outcome is, we will continue to work with our agencies, our local agencies throughout the process," says Bass.

Jonathan Allen, is a senior Washington correspondent for Politico, our sister organization.

He believe the threat of sequestration could have far reaching effects in this state.

"It will affect people differently. You'll certainly see an impact on folks in Alabama," says Allen.

"It's not as bad as the government being shut down and you going to a government building and the doors being closed," Allen explains. "It's just these agencies having less money, not that they don't have the authority to spend money, which is what happens in a traditional government shutdown like you saw in early 1996."

Cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), would mean 2,600 furloughed employees, 2,700 unfilled positions, and 1,400 fewer contractors.

The U.S. Justice Department would feel the pinch. U.S. Attorneys would handle 2,600 fewer cases in fiscal year 2013.

After cuts of nearly $100 million from their current budget.

Also on the chopping block more than 600,000 low-income women and children who receive nutrition assistance and education through the WIC program.

Congresswoman Terri Sewell said in a written statement, "In the State of Alabama, our local communities could lose more than $27 million in federal funding to three critical programs alone — Head Start, child care and development, and special education. Our municipalities will also face severe cuts which could limit the number of police officers and firefighters, teachers, and other providers of essential government services in our communities."

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