The budget sequester that came from a failure to agree on spending cuts this year has resulted in a lot of political posturing, fear-mongering, and claims about who and what would be affected. But which claims actually came true? The Washington Post kept a list. Among three categories — “came true,” “did not come true,” and “unknown” — a majority of claims never came true.
Here’s a look at five of the more notable sequester horror stories that never happened:
1. A reduction in the Women, Infants, and Children program
A popular program and talking point for many Democrats, WIC provides food, nutrition, and other assistance to women and children. The bold prediction, according to the Post, was, “A reduction of 600,000 low-income women and children who could receive nutrition assistance.” This did not happen — and in fact, nothing was cut in its stead. Congress ended up shelling out the money for the program right after the prediction was made.
2. Cuts to Navy operations
The Navy was feared to suffer some of the more substantial ramifications of the budget breakdown. According to predictions: “The Navy will be forced to cut back on operations in critical areas such as the Pacific. Cutbacks of one-third could occur in Pacific naval presence.” This didn’t happen. Instead, Congress quickly appropriated the money, and everything has proceeded as normal for now.
3. The Food and Drug Administration would lose some regulatory abilities
The FDA feared its regulatory abilities would be hampered by the sequestration to the tune of 2,100 fewer inspections allowed. According to official projections: “FDA would conduct approximately 2,100 fewer domestic and foreign facility inspections of firms that manufacture food products to verify that domestic and imported foods meet safety standards. These reductions may increase the risk of safety incidents, and the public may suffer more foodborne illnesses such as the recent salmonella in peanut butter outbreak and the E. coli illnesses linked to organic spinach.” Nope, that didn’t happen either. Officials don’t know if there will be any fewer inspections this year, let alone 2,100 — although they had to cut travel, training, and conference costs.
4. Cuts to Customs and Border Protection would create severe backlog
In what was a classic overreaction, the prediction here was that “Reduced [Customs and Border Protection] staffing would make four- to five-hour wait times commonplace and cause the busiest ports to face gridlock situations at peak periods.” Instead, the agency has not commented on how common such waits are, and Congress has not been notified of any frequent delays.
5. Secret Service personnel would decrease
Concerning those who protect government officials, including the president, the prediction was as follows: “Furloughs and reductions in overtime would adversely affect the U.S. Secret Service workforce, and hinder ongoing criminal and protective intelligence investigations. All [Secret Service] Special Agents and Uniformed Division Officers would be subject to furloughs of up to seven days.” This wasn’t remotely close to true: the service furloughed no one, implemented a hiring freeze, and siphoned funds from other Homeland Security agencies.
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