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Looming cuts could bring hunger pains for C.O. seniors

By Mackenzie Wilson
Published On: Feb 26 2013 08:48:06 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 26 2013 08:55:10 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Mackenzie Wilson reports as the threat of sweeping mandatory cuts to Federal spending being to show how they'd hurt Central Oregonians.

BEND, Ore. -

Tuesday morning, President Obama told workers at a shipyard in Virginia his views on the mandatory spending cuts that could come at the end of the week.

"These cuts are wrong -- they're not smart, they're not fair," Obama said.

Obama blames Republicans for not playing ball.

"Where's the president's plan to avoid sequester? Have you seen one? I haven't seen one," House Speaker John Boehner said.

There's been no talks, and the deadline is three days away, leaving one option: a sweeping set of across-the-board-cuts. Boehner suggested targeting defense and education for cuts, to have the least effect.

"There's no smart way to do that," Obama said. "You don't want to have to decide between cutting funding to help the disabled kid or the poor kid."

The White House released a detailed list of who and what the cuts would affect in each state.

"The amount that sequestration would potentially cut to our programs locally would be huge," said Pamela Norr.

Norr cares about seniors. She's the executive director of the Central Oregon Council on Aging. Here in Oregon, cuts could come to nutrition assistance programs for seniors in the form of nearly $700,000.

"The money would only come out of the Older Americans Act funding, which we receive from the federal government," said Norr. "But a 10 percent cut to that would be significant for us."

Norr believes the cuts also would cause an even costlier impact later on.

"Some of the seniors would get ill or need more care, and that would cost the taxpayers more than what it currently costs," Norr said.

As always, it's all about people and money, and finding a financial solution. Seniors are just one group who would be affected by federal spending cuts.

NewsChannel 21 contacted many other agencies that the White House papers suggested would also feel the pinch. Their responses were all the same: It's too early to tell.

But with three days left, no talks are reported to try to avoid the cuts.

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