Understanding the sequester

By Perry Russom

March 1, 2013 Updated Mar 1, 2013 at 11:38 PM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) - Congress has until midnight on Saturday to strike a deal to stop the United States from slashing $85 billion from the budget this fiscal year.

As expected, Congress continued bickering rather than finding a bipartisan agreement. And President Barack Obama signed the cuts into law Friday evening.

These cuts are temporary, however, and Congress can still strike a deal. And most hope they will.

According to a Washington Post-Pew Poll, one in five Americans know what the sequester actually is.

Meaning, the concept can be confusing.

"What I know about it is that it seems to be a very huge mish-mash," said John Solan, of Endwell.

"I just learned about this a few days ago when they were talking about the fiscal cliff and then all of a sudden it's a sequester," said Saleem Diaz, of Binghamton. "Who knows what it is?"

Douglas Garnar, history professor at Broome Community College, said the sequester is a face-off between Republicans and Democrats.

"It's a failure of both parties to react to a situation both were complacent in to create an impossible scenario that they both figured that when they got close like the fiscal cliff, reason would prevail," Garnar said. "Both sides have dug their respective feet in."

The budget that could take the hardest hit from the sequester will be the military.

They are facing a $40 billion cut this fiscal year. Experts say those cuts won't likely be noticed. America spends approximately $700 billion every year on military defense.

Now that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are ending, experts believe the military doesn't need all of that money.

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