By Hajer Naili
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
If $85 billion in across-the-board automatic federal budget cuts hit on Friday--and stay in place--women across the country will lose jobs, rental assistance, nutritional support, domestic-violence services.
(WOMENSENEWS)—If $85 billion in automatic cuts to the national budget hit on Friday under so-called sequestration, women will pay a heavy price, according to a sampling of analyses.
In a regional review of what would get chopped by the educational cleaver, the Washington Post reported Feb. 25 that Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., cumulatively would lose $29 million in elementary and high school funding, putting at risk 390 teacher and teacher-aide jobs.
Cuts to the Department of Agriculture would eliminate rental assistance for 10,000 very low-income rural people, most of whom are single women, elderly, or disabled, according to Mother Jones.
Mother Jones reports that some 600,000 women and children will lose nutritional assistance and education currently provided by Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC program.
Sequestration would take a toll on assistance programs for victims of domestic violence. In a report Sunday, the White House said that “Pennsylvania could lose up to $271,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 1,000 fewer victims being served,” reported the New York Times.
Mother Jones also reported than more than 3.8 million people getting long-term unemployment benefits would see their monthly payments reduced by as much as 9.4 percent, and would lose an average of $400 in benefits over their period of joblessness.
The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will conduct 424 000 fewer HIV tests, the Business Insider reported Feb. 25. Women are about 25 percent of those living with HIV infection in the United States, according to the Office on Women's Health in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Medicaid and Food Stamps— two programs upon which women disproportionately depend --are exempt from the automatic cuts, and cuts in Medicare payments cannot exceed 2 percent.
Although Social Security benefits would not be cut, the White House said that the automatic budget cuts would force the agency to curtail service to the public, worsening the backlog of disability claims.
Hajer Naili is a New York-based reporter for Women's eNews. She has worked for several radio stations and publications in France and North Africa and specializes in Middle East and North Africa. Follow her on Twitter @H_NAILI