Nightly News   |  March 02, 2013

Frustration aimed at Washington over sequester

The sequester likely won't be the doomsday scenario that some had predicted, as the cuts will kick in gradually, but there is public frustration at Washington for not doing more, sooner. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>>> good evening. washington's unwillingness to compromise on matters of money is about to mean less money for a lot of americans who are tonight nervously watching their mail boxes for pink slips . we are barely 24 hours from the sequestration, the odd term used to describe the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that swept across the federal government last evening with a swipe of president obama 's pen. effects will roll out over the next several weeks and range from parking war ships to furloughing potentially millions of workers whose livelihoods depend on government contracts . who is to blame? just follow the pointing fingers. there are lots of them. david gregory has new insight on the politics behind this. let's begin with kristen welker on the stalemate and its impact. good evening.

>> reporter: lester, good evening to you. the public's frustration is mounting tonight with all of washington for not doing more sooner. on the first full day of across-the-board spending cuts no negotiations just more finger pointing.

>> none of this is necessary. it's happening because republicans in congress chose this outcome over closing a single wasteful tax loophole that helps reduce the deficit.

>> reporter: house speaker john boehner home in ohio speaking to constituents and signaling that compromise is still far off.

>> as i told the president, once again yesterday, we all know what the problem is. we've got runway spending.

>> reporter: meanwhile, collective concern across the country from an army arsenal in huntsville, alabama where they're facing furloughs --

>> the sequestration will definitely affect my family.

>> reporter: to the grand canyon .

>> we're cutting travel. we're cutting training. we're reducing overtime.

>> reporter: and on the arizona border where agents could see their hours cut back.

>> cutting down the security of our nation i don't believe is the way to go at it.

>> reporter: the disruptions will be felt gradually, some furlough notifications already having gone out like at the department of justice , but the first cutbacks won't happen until april. the defense department will be hit hardest with 800,000 civilian workers bracing for furloughs. cuts to the faa could slow air travel and education occasions say as many as 70,000 children could be kicked off head start programs. but in some cases the fallout has already begun. one of the navy's warships the carrier truman is not going to the persian gulf . the air force 's world famous thunder birds have been grounded. hundreds of immigrants facing deportation have been released from prison. while polls show most americans will blame republicans, analysts say there is plenty of blame to go around.

>> right now we're stuck in a bad outcome for everybody. republicans don't get the entitlement cuts they want. democrats don't get the tax increases they want. the american people don't get the government or the economy they need.

>> reporter: now, lawmakers are hoping to work out a deal in the coming weeks to stave off the most serious cuts but, frankly, there is not a lot of hope that is going to happen and the next budget battle is looming at the end of this month.