The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

March 11, 2013

How budget cuts could affect you

— Government agencies are already taking steps to comply with automatic spending cuts that took effect March 1. Some examples:

AIRCRAFT CARRIER

One of the Navy's premiere warships, the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, sits pierside in Norfolk, Va., its tour of duty delayed. The carrier and its 5,000-person crew were to leave for the Persian Gulf on Feb. 8, along with the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg.

IMMIGRANTS

Documents reviewed by The Associated Press show that more than 2,000 illegal immigrants have been freed from jails across the country since Feb. 15. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, however, says the number is in the hundreds. ICE officials say they reviewed several hundred cases of immigrants and decided to put them on an "appropriate, more cost-effective form of supervised release."

AIRPORT CUSTOMS

People arriving on international flights were said to experience delays at airport customs and immigration booths, including at Los Angeles International and O'Hare International in Chicago. Officials said Monday that's because they closed lanes that would have previously been staffed by workers on overtime.

WHITE HOUSE TOURS

The administration has canceled tours of the White House, citing staffing reductions. House Speaker John Boehner says Capitol tours will continue

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Examples of other steps that are planned or predicted:

FEDERAL WORKERS

More than half of the nation's 2.1 million government workers may be furloughed. At the Pentagon alone that could mean 800,000 people who will lose a day's pay each week for more than five months; other federal agencies are likely to furlough several hundred thousand more for a varying number of days.

AIRLINE FLIGHTS

There could be widespread flight delays and cancellations due to furloughs of air traffic controllers, but furloughs won't start until April because of the legal requirement to give workers advance notice. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood predicts flights to cities such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco could have delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours. FAA officials have said they expect to eliminate overnight shifts by air traffic controllers in more than 60 airport towers and close more than 100 towers at smaller airports. But information posted online by the agency shows 72 airports that could lose midnight shifts and 238 airports where towers could be closed.

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