Sequestration...what is it and who will it affect?

In a nutshell, Sequestration is a series of automatic, spending cuts to domestic and defense programs, totaling $1.2 trillion.

It's an attempt to get a handle on the growth of the U.S. national debt, which now stands at more than $16 trillion. The sequester has been in the making for more than a year and many Americans held their breath as the nation approached "the fiscal cliff", and exhaling with Congress pushing it back to March 1 at the end of the last session.

We held or breath as we approached the "fiscal cliff, and here we are once again, holding our breath in the final hours of waiting to find out if the government will come to an agreement over sequestration that is scheduled to take place tomorrow if no sgreement is reached.   These major budget cuts wil not only have a huge impact on federal employees, every citizen will be impacted in some form or fashion.

Mark Koba, Senior Editor of NBC describes the effects of sequestration, in part, as follows:
* Transportation: Long lines at airports, fewer traffic controllers, higher ticket prices
* Social Security: Claim delays, offices closed
* Internal Revenue Service: Rough time for tax filers, identity theft rise
* Food safety and Inspection: Possible food shortages, industry worker layoffs
* National Parks: Stay home, they're likely closed
* Health: No more patients
Other major programs facing cuts and furloughs include the Coast Guard, the Border Patrol, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, elementary and secondary education, student loan programs, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Justice, the Secret Service, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the National Cybersecurity Protection System and of course all major governmental departments, including the Department of Defense which must cut up to $500 billion of its budget in the next 10 years.
Federal employees are faced with being placed on furlough, forced to take a total of 22 days of unpaid leave.  The proposal is one day a week totaling 16 hours a pay period/32 hours a month.  Your leave will be affected, as you will not earn any leave time during furlough, and if you are on AWS, might try go back to regular schedule during this time, as your leave is calculated differently, and you could lose even more of your leave time.  For some, this will be devastating, especially those with special circumstances such as single family/parent households, and parents with children who have special needs.
What can you do?  AFGE - The American Federation of Government employees has been urging federal employees to contact their state reps and tell them to avert sequestration.  Will it help?  Well, it can't hurt.  Contact your AFGE local for the phone numbers and verbiage.
If you are a federal employee, please share your thoughts about the furlough, and how it will affect you and your family.