What Sequestration Means for Pennsylvania

Automatic cuts to federal funding for a broad range of crucial services are scheduled to go into effect on March 1, 2013. These cuts will have a direct, disastrous impact on Pennsylvania families and children, and leading economists have warned of the damaging impact it will have on job creation and our economy. 

Congress can halt these across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration. 


Sequestration is bad policy. It will hurt the still-struggling economy and undermine our ability to invest in critical priorities for our children and communities. Estimates of sequestration’s impact on Pennsylvania include:

  • Head Start and Child Care cuts: 5,400 slots for low-income children will be lost.
  • Education: Pennsylvania will lose $26.4 million in funding for primary and secondary education, as well as $21.4 million for children with disabilities:
    • 29,000 fewer students would be served; and
    • 90 fewer schools would receive funding.
  • Total Job Losses: 78,454 in FY2012/FY2013 (jobs lost due to Department of Defense cuts: 39,941; jobs lost due to non-defense cuts: 38,513):
    • 3,160 fewer low-income students will receive aid to help with the cost of college; and 2,290 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help pay for college;
    • 36,860 fewer people will get job search assistance, training, referral, and placement to find work;
    • 700 Head Start jobs will be lost; and,
    • 620 K-12 and special education teacher, aide and staff positions will be lost.
  • Substance Abuse Treatment: 3,500 fewer individuals will receive services.
  • Domestic Violence Services: 1,000 fewer victims will be served.
  • HIV Testing: 6,000 fewer tests will be available.

There will also be cuts to nutrition programs for children and the elderly (WIC and Meals on Wheels), mental health services, rental assistance, LIHEAP, law enforcement, environmental protection, food safety and more.

The American Family Economic Protection Act would prevent cuts until January 2014 and allow Congress to develop a balanced approach to deficit reduction that is far more responsible than sequestration. This plan:

  • Raises revenue from wealthy households who currently pay a relatively low tax rate and closes loopholes on certain corporations.
  • Includes an equal mix of defense and non-defense spending cuts, with the non-defense cuts coming from reductions in farm subsidies.
  • Results in new revenue and spending cuts that add up to $110 billion, the amount needed to offset the sequester through January 2014.

Note: The American Family Economic Protection Act failed to get the 60 votes needed in the Senate for the bill to proceed to a final vote. The vote was 51-49 in favor of advancing the bill.