Tennessee Agencies Brace For Looming Sequestration
by Adam Ghassemi
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Head Start is a program that helps low-income families with children from pregnancy to kindergarten, but now the future for some kids is in question.
Metro Action Commission officials say their Early Head Start and Head Start funding could be cut by up to 9%, which means more than 125 children in Davidson County alone may not be able to attend.
"We've actually been watching it for quite some time," said spokeswoman Lisa McCrady. "We're just hoping that things will kind of level off and that the funding will be identified, and that we wouldn't have to experience any cuts."
Head Start is only one program waiting for a decision.
Wednesday TEMA officials said it could lose nearly $3 million in federal funding meant for firefighters and first responders across the state.
At Fort Campbell, leaders announced new town hall meetings to inform people on-post about the cuts.
Major General McConville released a statement saying, "I am deeply concerned about the potential impact that these cuts will have on our civilian employees and military Families. We are doing everything that we can to limit the impact on our teammates and Family members."
Today in Washington, the Department of Defense announced furloughs unless Congress comes up with a fix.
"Unfortunately we'll have to continue our planning for furloughs. Frankly this is one of the least, or the most distasteful task I have faced in my four years in this job," said Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Robert Hale.
National Parks could change as well. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park could lose five camp grounds affecting more than 50,000 annual visitors.
Major things, like TennCare, are exempt according to the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration, but special education and school lunch programs could be cut as the state trims 18% of its federal funding.
Nashville International Airport may have longer lines as the Department of Homeland Security warns of fewer TSA agents, while the FAA warns budget cuts could force it to cut back on air traffic controllers and technicians. Officials there believe the ripple effect would mean fewer planes from the airlines.
The list just keeps going, but one thing is clear programs are paying attention and hoping things they offer, sometimes for the neediest Tennesseans, won't soon disappear.
"These working parents would now have to find a different option for their children," said McCrady.