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North Texas Agencies Poised For Cuts, Cruz Blames President For Sequester

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – First, it was the fiscal cliff.

Now, it’s the sequester: the across the board federal budget cuts that will go into effect March 1st unless Congress acts.

They amount to $85 billion this year, and an additional $1.1 trillion during the next decade.

Under the sequester, entitlement programs such as social security and medicare are exempt.

The budget cuts come from the part of the federal budget that funds operating accounts such as the Pentagon and other federal agencies.

The military budget would be cut by $500 billion over a ten year period.

In Dallas Wednesday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz told me he believes in spending cuts, but that the military budget shouldn’t be slashed that deeply. “Defense should not be exempt from cuts, but they should be allocated in a sensible manner.”

Republicans and Democrats continue to blame each other.

During a news conference Tuesday, President Obama said, “So now, Republicans in Congress face a simple choice. Are they willing to compromise to protect vital investments in education and healthcare and national security and all the jobs that depend on them?”

Senator Cruz responded Wednesday by saying, “It is President Obama and the Democrats who are refusing to do so. Because what the President wants to do is pick the most egregious cuts and demagogue on them instead.”

While both sides point fingers at each other, the deadline draws closer.

The Resource Center Dallas is bracing for the worst.

Cece Cox, who runs the Resource Center, says that would have a major impact on those living with HIV, who depend on a drug assistance program.

Cox says, “It means somebody won’t be able to make their medical copay, somebody won’t be able to get their prescription. And if you’re living with HIV and can’t take your prescriptions, your immune system is going to go crazy. You’re going to get sicker.”

It’s not just community organizations, like the Resource Center Dallas, that could get hit.

President Obama warns airport security screeners and air traffic controllers will be let go, causing delays at the airports, thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off — a concern to school districts across North Texas.

If the sequester goes through, cuts to schools would be made during the 2013-14 year.

Fort Worth ISD says it could lose $2.8 million in federal funds, but that it doesn’t believe it will have to layoff teachers.

Plano ISD says layoffs could be possible.

Richardson ISD says it could lose positions, but those would be through attrition, not layoffs.

Midlothian ISD tells us it could have to cut employees and programs if the sequester is enacted.

We also checked with local police departments and county sheriffs departments.

They either don’t know the impact the sequester would have or don’t believe they will be affected at all.

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