After more than a year of anticipation about whether Congress and President Barack Obama would strike a compromise to avoid so-called sequestration, the budget cuts -- which will slash $1.2 trillion from federal spending over the next decade -- took effect March 1. Governing has been covering the debate since Obama signed off on the Budget Control Act in August 2011, and continues to explore the predicted impact of sequestration.

Although the budget cuts already have taken effect, Congressional leaders still have until March 15 to strike a deal to avoid them retroactively. Several governors, led by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, offered alternative proposals to the White House last week. Read about their proposals here.

Several federal programs that provide funding to states and localities -- including Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, welfare assistance and highway programs -- will be left untouched because they were exempt from the cuts. But many other federal programs that fund state and local efforts were on the chopping block.

Read our ongoing in-depth coverage below to find out how sequestration may impact certain programs and regions.


Although Medicaid is exempt from the cuts, grants for health exchanges -- a major part of Obama's health reform -- will feel the stress of sequestration. Seventeen states have opted to create and run their own online marketplaces for people to purchase private health insurance. Read how sequestration may hurt those efforts.

Vaccinations, HIV testing and substance abuse treatment are just a few programs that could also suffer. Read about the effect of sequestration on public health here.


Police officers could face layoffs and law enforcement programs could come to an end now that sequestration has taken effect. Read which programs are most at risk here.


Much of the cuts won't hit schools until the fall (read why here), but when they do, it could mean massive layoffs for teachers. Read about sequestration's impact on the teaching workforce here.


Not only is D.C. the political center of the country, it's also the wealthiest part of the country. Read about sequestration's predicted impact on the region's economy here.


Cities near military bases and with ties to defense contractors are bracing for the impact of $500 billion in defense spending cutbacks over the next 10 years. Read which regions could suffer the most here.