A set of sweeping, across-the-board trigger cuts set to go into effect in January would be "devastating" to education programs, particularly if Congress decides to spare only defense programs while allowing K-12 cuts to go through, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Democratic lawmakers said at a hearing today.
Right now, domestic spending programs—like education‐and defense programs are supposed to share the pain of the trigger cuts equally, with all programs facing a cut of up about 7.8 percent on January 2, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
But, if Congress reaches some sort of deal that exempts only defense, the cuts to domestic programs would be much steeper, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees education spending, said at hearing today on the impact of the cuts. They could be as high as 17.6 percent, across-the-board, he estimated.
Secretary Duncan said that he "worries gravely" about what such a big cut would mean for the future of the economy.