BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Congress and the White House have just four days to stop $85 billion in automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

Massachusetts would lose tens of millions of dollars for education, environmental protection and child care if the automatic spending cuts took effect as scheduled March 1, and about 7,000 civilians who work in defense-related jobs could also face furloughs, according to a state-by-state analysis released by the White House on Sunday night.

At a rally in Boston against the looming cuts Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren called the sequester “disastrous.”

Warren was joined by four Massachusetts congressmen at the event at ABCD headquarters off Tremont Street. ABCD (Action for Boston Community Development) helps administer the Head Start program.

“Kids (would be) thrown out of Head Start, massive cuts to small business loan guarantees,” Warren predicted if sequestration happens.

“Fewer seniors who need ‘Meals on Wheels’ could get the food they need. The list goes on and on. This sequester is about hurting people and that makes it wrong.”

The looming cuts were never supposed to happen. They were intended to be a draconian fallback intended to ensure a special deficit reduction committee would come up with $1 trillion or more in savings from benefit programs. It didn’t.

House Republicans have said reduced spending needs to be the focus and have rejected the president’s fresh demand to include higher taxes as part of a compromise.

Tim Buckley, spokesman for the Massachusetts Republican Party, said in a statement that instead of complaining about the automatic cuts in Boston, the Democratic lawmakers “should head back to D.C. and talk to President Obama as the idea for sequestration originated in the White House.”

Gov. Deval Patrick said Monday that automatic federal spending cuts could potentially cost Massachusetts hundreds of millions of dollars, and he’s putting the blame squarely on Republicans for the failure to reach a deal.

Patrick met with reporters at the Statehouse on Monday after returning from a 10-day trip that included a trade mission to Colombia and a meeting of the nation’s governors in Washington.

The Democrat and ally of President Barack Obama said there was little hope of heading off the automatic spending cuts, scheduled to take effect on Friday.

“There is very little confidence in Washington that there will be a deal before the end of the week,” Patrick said, while adding: “Hope springs eternal.”

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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