Sequester refers to ten years of automatic, across-the-board cuts to the federal government’s budget.  The Budget Control Act of 2011 required Congress to achieve $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction through 2021 or face a sequester.  Because no agreement was reached between Congress and the Administration, the across-the-board sequester was automatically triggered.

The $1.2 trillion in spending reductions are equally divided between defense and nondefense spending, but some programs were exempt. To achieve the reductions necessary in 2013, sequestration requires a reduction of 9.4 percent in discretionary defense spending and a reduction of 8.2 percent in discretionary non-defense spending. 

The sequester’s arbitrary, across-the-board spending cuts pose a great risk to our economy and national security.  According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, sequester will result in the loss of 750,000 jobs and 0.6 percentage points to our GDP.  For more information on the national effects of sequester, click here for the report House Appropriations Committee report

Rep. Levin supports replacing the sequester with a balanced deficit reduction approach that includes both spending cuts and revenues. 

Here are just some of the ways the sequester will impact Michigan:

Impact on Jobs and the Economy

Job Search Assistance

Michigan will lose about $1.7 million in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 54,400 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment. 

Child Care and Development Block Grant 

The Child Care and Development Block Grant is the primary federal program devoted to child care services for nearly 1.7 million children. Up to 900 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job. 

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Michigan will lose $31.6 million in funding for medical research and innovation. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world. NIH’s work has improved human health by increasing life expectancy and making breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. NIH research also has a significant economic impact, directly supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs and supporting the medical innovation sector which employs 1 million Americans. Across-the-board budget cuts would mean that reduced NIH award funding would impede medical research and cost 564 jobs.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Michigan will lose roughly $9.6 million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), resulting in fewer awards to support job-creating research into new scientific breakthroughs. The NSF is the funding source for approximately 20% of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities, and supports the basic research that leads to scientific advancement in fields like nanotechnology, mathematics, and computer science.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

Michigan will experience deep cuts in funding for housing and community development. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program provides communities with resources to provide decent housing, expand economic opportunity for local residents, and create jobs through the retention and expansion of businesses. The Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) program assists low-income and elderly Americans afford safe and clean housing in the private market. Across-the-board cuts would have serious consequences for these programs in Michigan by reducing CDBG funding by $5,804,282 and allowing the HCV program to support 2,732 fewer families.

Impact on Military Readiness 

In Michigan, approximately 10,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $67.7 million in total. Michigan base operation funding would be cut by about $14 million. 

Impact on Law Enforcement and Public Safety 

Justice Assistance Grants 

Michigan will lose about $482,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives. 

First Responders

Michigan will lose $3,451,825 in investments in first responders. 

FIRE Grants help firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources necessary to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related disasters. 

SAFER grants provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations to help increase the number of trained, "front line" firefighters in their communities. 

The across-the-board cuts under sequestration would mean approximately $881,625 less in FIRE Grants and $2,570,200 less in SAFER funding for Michigan firefighters and first responders.

Impact on Health and Food Safety


Though Medicaid was exempt from the sequester cuts, Medicare was not.  Michigan doctors who treat Medicare beneficiaries will take a 2 percent pay cut. 

National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program 

1,840 fewer Michigan women will be screened for cancer. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program helps low-income, uninsured, or underinsured women gain access to diagnostic services like clinical breast examinations, mammograms, pap tests, and pelvic examinations. An across-the board cut could result in $463,580 in reduced funding. 

Childhood Immunization Grants

In Michigan 4,692 fewer children will receive life-saving vaccinations. Grants for childhood immunizations help to purchase and distribute vaccines for poor and uninsured children. The across-the board cut will result in $320,533 in reduced funding for children’s vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B. 

Public Health

Michigan will lose approximately $944,000 in federal funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. 

In addition, Michigan will lose about $2.9 million in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 3,500 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Michigan Department of Community Health will lose about $315,000 resulting in around 7,900 fewer HIV tests. 

Food Safety

The across the-board cuts under the sequester could force the FDA to conduct 2,100 fewer inspections of food facilities nationwide, which could raise the risk of safety incidents and lead to more outbreaks of foodborne illnesses like salmonella or E. coli. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) may have to furlough employees, which could cause serious delays in food processing and inspection that would result in millions of dollars of losses to the agriculture sector. FSIS inspectors are responsible for ensuring safe conditions at over 6,000 facilities nationwide, including 161 in Michigan.

Nutrition Services for Seniors

Sequester means $1,488,183 less to provide seniors with meals on wheels and nutrition services. Senior nutrition programs provide meals and nutrition services to seniors in group settings like senior centers or through delivery to individuals who are homebound because of illness, disability, or geographic isolation. Across-the-board cuts would reduce funding used to ensure that Michigan seniors remain healthy and independent.

Impact on Education

Primary and Secondary Education 

In 2013 alone, Michigan will lose approximately $22 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 300 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 25,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 80 fewer schools would receive funding.

Special Education

9,665 fewer special education students in Michigan will receive support. Special education grants to states provide assistance to help meet the additional costs of providing educational services to children with disabilities. Funding under this program supports the salaries of special education teachers, costs associated with service personnel such as speech therapists, physical therapists, and psychologists, and the use of assistive technology in classrooms. As a result of across-the-board cuts, Michigan schools will lose $20.3 million in funding for special education grants, supporting 245 fewer jobs. 

Head Start and Early Head Start 

Head Start and Early Head Start services, which provide comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families, would be eliminated for approximately 2,300 children in Michigan, reducing access to critical early education. These types of early education services improve students’ chances of success in school. Across-the-board spending cuts could result in a $13.5 million reduction in funding, limiting children’s access and costing 546 jobs.

Low-income College Assistance

Around 2,490 fewer low income students in Michigan would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 1,300 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college. 

Impact on the Environment

Michigan would lose about $5.9 million in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Michigan could lose another $1.5 million in grants for fish and wildlife protection.

(Updated April 24, 2013)