The Associated Press
Government agencies are already taking steps to comply with automatic spending cuts that took effect March 1. Some examples:
One of the Navy's premiere warships, the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, sits pierside in Norfolk, Va., its tour of duty delayed. The carrier and its 5,000-person crew were to leave for the Persian Gulf on Feb. 8, along with the guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg.
Documents reviewed by The Associated Press show that more than 2,000 illegal immigrants have been freed from jails across the country since Feb. 15. An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, however, says the number is in the hundreds. ICE officials say they reviewed several hundred cases of immigrants and decided to put them on an "appropriate, more cost-effective form of supervised release."
People arriving on international flights were said to experience delays at airport customs and immigration booths, including at Los Angeles International and O'Hare International in Chicago. Officials said Monday that's because they closed lanes that would have previously been staffed by workers on overtime.
WHITE HOUSE TOURS
The administration has canceled tours of the White House, citing staffing reductions. House Speaker John Boehner says Capitol tours will continue
The Transportation Security Administration has canceled special training pilots willing to carry guns when they fly as passengers so they can intervene in attempted hijackings or other emergencies, says the Coalition for Air Line Pilot Associations , an umbrella group for several pilot unions. The program was viewed as an extra layer of security on planes.
Examples of other steps that are planned or predicted:
More than half of the nation's 2.1 million government workers may be furloughed. At the Pentagon alone that could mean 800,000 people who will lose a day's pay each week for more than five months; other federal agencies are likely to furlough several hundred thousand more for a varying number of days.
There could be widespread flight delays and cancellations due to furloughs of air traffic controllers, but furloughs won't start until April because of the legal requirement to give workers advance notice. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood predicts flights to cities such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco could have delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours. FAA officials have said they expect to eliminate overnight shifts by air traffic controllers in more than 60 airport towers and close more than 100 towers at smaller airports. But information posted online by the agency shows 72 airports that could lose midnight shifts and 238 airports where towers could be closed.
Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff paint a dire picture of construction projects on hold, limits on aircraft carriers patrolling the waters and even a delay in the expansion of Arlington National Cemetery. About 800,000 Defense Department civilians face furloughs. The Pentagon will be forced to furlough for one day a week about 15,000 teachers who work at schools around the world for children of people in the military. Beginning in April, the Army will cancel maintenance at depots, which will force 5,000 layoffs, and it also will let go more than 3,000 temporary and contract employees. The Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy's Blue Angels will stop appearing in air shows. Three Pentagon service branches and the U.S. Coast Guard have suspended tuition assistance that thousands of troops and others use to pay for college. The programs pay up to $250 a semester hour or $4,000 a year. The Air Force, Marine Corps, Army and Coast Guard have suspended them, and a Navy decision is pending.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service -- the numbers arm of the Agriculture Department -- says it won't issue some reports this year such as its July tally of cattle, which is used by the beef industry, and its milk production report. Reports by the service influence prices and supply of many products in a wide range of agricultural industries that generate billions of dollars for the U.S. economy.
There could be an estimated 2,100 fewer food safety inspections, meaning greater risks to consumers. Worker furloughs are not planned, but rather the reduction in inspections would come from cuts in travel spending. On meat inspections, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday that it will be several months before meat inspectors are furloughed and that each will likely be furloughed 11 days or 12 days, instead of 15 days as the Obama administration indicated earlier.