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Automatic US Budget Cuts Would Hit Philly Tourist Spots, Children’s Programs

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(The Bishop White House, at 309 Walnut Street, would be closed to tourists if sequester cuts go into effect.  File photo from Independence National Historic Park.)

(The Bishop White House, at 309 Walnut Street, would be closed to tourists if sequester cuts go into effect. File photo from Independence National Historic Park.)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Millions of dollars in cuts to local schools, law enforcement, and public health agencies are looming if Congress doesn’t work to stop the automatic budget cuts that would take effect this Friday.

And the impact of some of those local cuts would be felt all across the Delaware Valley.

This was supposed to be the crisis that wasn’t.   Automatic cuts seemed so irrational and draconian that federal officials were sure Congress would act to avert them, as it did once before, in late December.

But with four days left until the next deadline, they’ve started preparing for the worst.

At Independence National Historic Park, for instance, spokesperson Jane Cowley says hundreds of hours of programming would be cut.

“We are looking at the possibility of closing eight of our 16 historical buildings,” she said today.

Local agencies that depend on federal funding are also looking at cuts.  A state-by-state breakdown shows that services to children would be hardest hit.

Head Start would serve 3,500 fewer children in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.   Nearly 10,000 fewer children would get vaccinations.  The families of more than 2,000 children would lose child care — meaning their parents might face the loss of a job.

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