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25 Ways the Sequester Causes Real Harm to Real People

While many Republicans and conservatives have minimized the impact of the sequester and its effects on America's working families, nearly 40% of people say it has hurt them personally. Here are 25 ways the sequester is affecting people's lives, not just right now, but more and more over time.

25. Fewer Services at National Parks: As the sequester goes on, national parks will have fewer and fewer employees and will have to cut hours, maintenance and visitor center services.

24. Customs Wait Times: Long wait times at customs have exceeded four hours at some airports and passengers have missed flights because of the delays.

23. Lower Pay for Defense Department Workers: Furloughs for more than 628,000 workers at the Department of Defense mean their take home pay will decline.

22. Loss of Weather Satellites: In order to save on-the-ground jobs, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is delaying the replacement of satellites that collect and transmit data that enhance weather forecasts and climate models.

21. Increasing the Deficit: With $50 billion being cut from enforcement activities by the Internal Revenue Service, less tax revenue will be recovered, with as much as $4.5 billion being lost and added to the deficit.

20. Loss of Work-Study Jobs: More than 33,000 college students will be dropped from the work-study program and will lose funding for school. Some of them won't be able to afford to continue their education.

19. Weaker Public Safety: Massachusetts is cutting back on inspections of food plants, hospitals and air quality. This is after the state's 2012 deadly outbreak of meningitis, which could have been prevented with improved inspections.

18. Failure to Make School Repairs: Districts like Heart Butte in Montana are forgoing necessary repairs, leaving students without hot water, with holes in building roofs and buses and playgrounds that are falling below regulations.

17. Cutting Music and Physical Education Programs: The McLaughlin Independent School District in South Dakota cut music programs and P.E. and may have to close schools.

16. Loss of Unemployment Benefits: Already modest unemployment insurance payments will be cut or eliminated for millions of workers at a time when jobs are still scarce.

15. Teachers and Staff Laid Off: School districts like Window Rock in Arizona are laying of staff and teachers and may have to close schools if the sequestration continues.

14. Less Scientific Research: Funds for the National Institutes of Health are being cut, which will delay research that is critical for developing new treatments for diseases.

13. Loss of Counselors: Schools like those in the Hays/Lodge Pole District in Montana are unable to fill counseling jobs as youth suicides are on the rise.

12. Less Job Search Assistance: Workforce training and support programs are expected to see cuts up to 25% of their budget, and organizations like SuperJobs Center in Cincinnati will suspend all training for the thousands of job seekers it serves.

11. Elderly Adults Not Being Able to Eat: Cuts to the Meals on Wheels program mean that local deliveries are dropping by hundreds of meals a day in places like Contra Costa County in California and Lamar County in Texas. The programs are being frozen or reduced and some of those who have lost the meals have no other means of getting daily meals.

10. Decreased Law Enforcement Capability: The only crime gun tracing facility in the country has laid off 90 workers, hampering their ability to track down weapons like those used by suspected Boston Marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

9. Fewer Firefighters to Battle An Extreme Fire Season in the West: $28 million has been cut from the Forest Service budget, meaning less equipment has been purchased and 500 fewer firefighters have been hired in a season that already is larger and deadlier than other recent years.

8. Declining GDP Growth: The rate of economic growth in the United States declined in the first quarter of the year because of budget cuts.

7. Increasing Children's Exposure to Lead: Programs designed to lower children's risk of lead poisoning have faced cuts and could see more. Meanwhile lead poisoning is described by Think Progress as "one of the most important and overlooked national public health problems."

6. Kids Kicked Out of Head Start: As many as 70,000 children will lose their chance of participating in Head Start this year because of the cuts.

5. Increased Homelessness: According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as many as 100,000 homeless and formerly homeless people will be removed from programs that have been proven to reduce homelessness.

4. More Air Pollution: Cuts have forced the Environmental Protection Agency to delay the implementation of new monitoring sites for dangerous air pollutants.

3. Fewer Public Defenders and Worse Representation: Offices are being closed in 20 states, cases are being delayed and defendants are being forced to be represented by Criminal Justice Act panel attorneys, which some studies have found to be less effective than public defenders.

2. Less Support for Domestic Violence Victims: Shelters for domestic violence victims like those run by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence are cutting back on beds and services for the first time in their history, increasing the chances that women and children in the state will be victims of violence.

1. Lost Homes: More than $2 billion in cuts to Section 8 and other housing programs to freeze or shrink their programs and people are starting to lose their homes as a result. It is projected that 140,000 fewer households will get assistance this year.

Learn much more about how the job-killing sequester is hurting communities around the country at Mapping the Sequester.

Working families are calling on Congress to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from benefit cuts (i.e., raising the retirement age and the "chained" CPI), repeal the sequester and close tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthiest 2%. 

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