Sequester budget cuts begin today
Congress can stop the cuts at any time after they start on Friday if the parties agree to that. In the absence of any deal at all, the Pentagon will be forced to slice 13 percent of its budget between now and Sept. 30. Most non-defense programs, from NASA space exploration to federally backed education and law enforcement, face a 9 percent reduction.
The International Monetary Fund warns that the cutbacks could knock at least 0.5 percentage point off U.S. economic growth this year and slow the global economy.
If the cuts were to stay in place through September, the administration predicts significant air travel delays due to layoffs of airport security workers and air traffic controllers.
CANCER RESEARCH, TEACHERS HIT
Some Pentagon weapons production could grind to a halt and the budget cuts would ripple through the sprawling defense contracting industry.
Meat inspections could get hung up, medical research projects on cancer and Alzheimer's disease canceled or curtailed and thousands of teachers laid off.