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Sequestration deadline looming, WI leaders talk implications here

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- It is the sequestration standoff: the Friday, March 1st deadline when automatic spending cuts would kick in is approaching, and both Democrats and Republicans are working to avoid the blame for a move that could derail the nation's economic recovery.

"The sequestration deadline in very ominous. There is a critical mass of Republicans who came to Congress to destroy government," Rep. Gwen Moore said.

On FOX Sunday, Gov. Scott Walker made the case for cuts, not tax increases.

"They already had the tax increases, that came at the end of this last year when we avoided -- or at least temporarily avoided -- the fiscal cliff," Gov. Walker said.

Congresswoman Moore says Democrats are trying to avoid the cuts and says the GOP actually wants the sequester to kick in.

"The Republicans have favored cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut," Rep. Moore said.

Sequestration is the formal term for the mandatory spending cuts to federal programs. It can be though of as the money itself being "sequestered" or set aside and put in a place where it can't be spent.

Rep. Moore says there would be serious implications to air travel, first responders and even FDA inspections.

"When you're a mom putting chicken nuggets on the table you wouldn't be able to be sure they were inspected by FDA agents," Rep. Moore said.

One study shows sequestration would have a deep impact on Wisconsin -- the loss of $1.8 billion from the state's economy, 36,000 jobs and health and education cuts.

On Sunday, the White House released estimates of the impact on Wisconsin. Teachers and schools would see an $8.5 million cut, including 120 jobs. Head Start would cut services for 900 Wisconsin children, and the military would see 3,000 furloughs.

"Our hope is between now and March 1st, they'll find a way to provide some better alternatives to the cuts in the sequester," Gov. Walker said.