It is official - $85 billion in budget cuts are under way. The president and Congress had a year and a half to find a way to compromise and failed. The cuts are split between defense and domestic spending.
Government workers could be furloughed.
The White House is warning it could mean everything from fewer cops to longer lines at the airport.
"Let's be clear, none of this is necessary. It's happening because of a choice that Republicans in Congress have made," President Barack Obama said.
"I did lay out that the House is going to move a continuing resolution next week to fund the government past March 27," House Speaker Rep. John Boehner, R-OH, said.
One thing that's not on the chopping block is lawmakers' salaries, but they will have to cut office expenses, which could affect their staffs.
The budget cuts will affect everyone, including those in the Kansas City metro.
Government workers are expected to be the first on the chopping block now that the sequester has gone into effect. Food inspectors are government workers, and if they're not around to do their job, everyone could pay for it at the grocery store.
The potential price hikes are expected to show up first in the meat department, one of the more popular items in supermarkets.
"I'm a mother of four, so it wouldn't please me at all if I had to pay more for things that I already feel I'm paying a lot for," shopper Tyanna Hyatte said.
The USDA secretary recently warned that the sequester could cause furloughs for food safety inspectors, which could in turn lead to the temporary closure of meat processing plants. That means consumers would pay higher prices for meat that was already cleared for consumption.
"I think they're not making the right cuts in the right areas. I don't think the money is spent right in the government anyway," shopper Cissy Collins said.
But some shoppers aren't too worried about the long-term sequester supermarket price spike.
"Me, personally, I don't think it's really all that big of a deal," shopper Joel Switzsen said.
But others are bracing for the worst with plans to either cut back on meat or stop buying it all together.
"Maybe a little bit, maybe not as much, but we'll still buy it," Hyatte said.
"Might become a vegetarian. Don't want to be," Collins said.
The budget cuts could also affect imported meat because USDA inspectors are overseas clearing the meat orders before they're shipped into the states.
The budget cuts will also hit the medical community in the metro.
The president and CEO at Shawnee Mission Medical Center said Medicare reimbursements will take a two percent hit. That adds up to $3 million for his hospital. He said rural hospitals will be hit the hardest.
"On one hand, we realize that we need to do our share and the challenges financially from the government perspective, but we're also concerned about how these cuts are going to impact our ability to take care of folks who need it most," Ken Bacon said.
School districts on both sides of the state line said education funding will be cut from the next school year.
In Kansas City, KS, it will be a $1.35 million cut. In Kansas City, MO, it will be between $2.2 and nearly $3.5 million.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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