The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 9, 2013

Two years later, 2011 budget cuts look ephemeral


On and on it went, as Pentagon officials filled out their allotted cut painlessly. In the end, officials said, there was just one instance where the Pentagon "lost scope" purely as a result of the landmark budget cuts. Meaning: where the military had to cut something it actually wanted to keep. That was a project at a base in Qatar — a medical-administration building and two warehouses. Total real-world savings: $25.2 million.

Just 0.4 percent of the total that Congress counted as "cut" on paper.

Not all the bill's cuts were illusory, however. The Post's analysis found five large cuts that turned out to be very real.

None of them actually caused an agency in Washington to shed federal personnel. Instead, they reduced the money that passed through those agencies to state and local projects.

There was a $997 million decrease in funding for Environmental Protection Agency programs to loan out for water-restoration projects. The result, EPA officials estimated, was that 210 fewer projects received funding.

An additional $942 million was cut from community development funds, shared by 1,200 cities and towns around the country. In Boston, for instance, that translated into a funding cut of $3.7 million from the year before. The money is used, in part, to fix up dilapidated homes. On average, the city needs $27,000 to fix up a home so it's ready for a tenant in need.

"We just do less volume," said Sheila Dillon with the city of Boston. "It's taking us longer to fund good affordable housing projects, and subsequently there's people who are spending too much money on rent."

One of the bill's sharpest impacts was felt in Calexico, Calif., 2,500 miles away from Washington. For years, people there have complained that the local border crossing cannot handle enough cars: Lines back up for hours on the Mexican side, which provides 60 percent of Calexico's retail shoppers.

Text Only
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video