Sequester cuts are starting to take effect. The first sign is long lines for security at O’Hare Airport. “We are already seeing the effects at some of the ports of entry, the big airports, for example. Some of them had very long lines,” says Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Coming soon will be cuts to subsidized flights in Decatur, Marion and Quincy, says U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “Within two weeks, we will announce cutbacks in air service in Illinois. Some Downstate airports may be forced to close, and if this continues, they will be [forced to close] in the out years. That will have a direct impact on the economy of Downstate, and people will finally say, ‘so that’s what sequestration is all about,’” Durbin said.
Sequestration will cut $85 billion in federal spending this year, and $1.2 trillion over 10 years. Half must come from domestic discretionary programs, and half from the military. Flights to Decatur, Marion and Quincy are subsidized to the tune of $7 million annually under the Essential Air Service program. Durbin suggests cuts that are easier to make than the indiscriminate cuts required under sequestration: Direct support payments to farmers, worth $5 billion per year, and a $32 billion subsidy, in the way of government-backed student loans and grants, to for-profit schools.
(posted 3/7/13 by llinois Radio Network/Christian Spain)