Spending cuts make an impact locally - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

"Sequester" impact looms in Rochester; President Obama: "cuts not a win for anybody"

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Air travelers connecting from Rochester to Chicago O'Hare could face delays Air travelers connecting from Rochester to Chicago O'Hare could face delays

ROCHESTER, Minn./WASHINGTON, D.C. (KTTC) -- A set of automatic budget cuts is set to take effect late Friday that could affect people in industries all across the country, all because Congress failed to reach a deal.  President Obama emerged Friday morning at the White House to say the cuts are "not a win for anybody. This is a loss for the American people."

It's all called "sequestration," and the impact of the mandated budget cuts will be felt across the U.S., but as President Obama noted, "not right away" and "not all at once."  The White House has compiled a list of federal services that will face cutbacks in Minnesota, in an apparent attempt to demonstrate what will happen in the months ahead. 

"Let's be clear: None of this is necessary. It's happening because of a choice that Republicans in Congress have made. We shouldn't be making a series of dumb, arbitrary cuts to things," said President Obama. 

Republicans say it is the president's fault because he is insisting on tax increases on wealthy Americans to help cut the deficit; they want to rely solely on spending cuts and refuse to consider tax increases, though there has been talk of a willingness to eliminate tax loopholes. 

As we first reported a week ago, the Federal Medical Center in Rochester and other prisons across the country may have to go into lockdown to maintain security while employees are required to take furlough days because of sequestration. 

Last week, one employee told us employees were notified that it could be one day every two weeks going forward, or about two days a month, as unpaid days off.

Airports would also be impacted by the automatic budget cuts. Although Rochester's airport does not expect any problems Chicago's O'Hare is predicting delays, and with the many flights between Rochester and Chicago, it could impact Rochester travelers.

That adds on to delays that travels already experience, including those that were delayed Thursday on a flight in from Chicago.

"There's usually quite a few delays in Chicago regardless of weather, now there's going to be more because of air traffic controllers then it would be even more delays," said Sara Dunnington, a traveler on that flight.

As prisons change security programs to cope with sequestration, officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are releasing some immigrants into a form of supervised release.

A statement from ICE says "Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety."

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