With the nation's governors in town for their annual conference, President Obama upped the ante on his campaign to push Congress to find solutions to avoid sequestration. The White House released state-by-state reports Sunday outlining how the $85 billion in automatic cuts set to take effect on March 1 would be felt locally.
Illinois will lose $1.4 million in funding for programs that help unemployed workers, which would affect about 50,780 job seekers, its report said. Ohio will lose about $25.1 million for primary and secondary education and 350 teacher and aide jobs. Other examples include the sequester's effect on Head Start, senior meals, law enforcement and public safety, military readiness and other programs.
No doubt the administration was hoping for dozens of headlines in newspapers supporting its case like the one in The Detroit News declaring that Michigan could lose jobs and millions of dollars and in the Orlando Sentinel announcing that Florida could lose $275 million in the sequester's first year.
In a conference call with reporters, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said that congressional Republicans have decided that "these cuts are better for the economy than eliminating loopholes that benefit the wealthy" even though voters made clear in November that they "overwhelmingly disagree with that choice."
Republicans, displeased with the finger pointing in their direction, accused the White House of focusing more on public relations than on seeking ways to avert the cuts.
"Rather than issuing last-minute press releases on cuts to first responders or troop training or airport security, [Obama] should propose smarter ways to cut Washington spending. After all, Washington spending, even with the sequester, is bigger than it was when he got here,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).
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(Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)