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Why the Ticking Time Bomb of 'Sequestration' Could Decimate Education

A legislative practice of cutting funding after its already been budgeted will affect up to 7.5 million students unless we demand action.


Congress has concocted a ticking time bomb that is set to go off on the nation's K-12 schools, colleges, and universities in January 2013. "Sequestration," a term you will be hearing more about in the coming months, is a fancy legislative word for cutting funding after it has already been budgeted. In practice, what this means is that Congress takes back federal funds after they've been dis­bursed.

How we got to this point is even more complex and convoluted than the word itself. As part of last summer's debt ceiling deal, congressional leaders were required to come up with a plan to trim $1.2 trillion from the national debt by Thanksgiving. As an incentive for both Republicans and Democrats to reach a deal, automatic across-the-board spend­ing cuts were to be initiated if the dead­line passed without a budget agreement. Of course Congress failed to strike a deal.

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