US & Canada

Katty Kay answers your sequester questions

Katty Kay at her desk in Washington DC 28 February 2013

President Barack Obama will meet congressional leaders on Friday in an effort to negotiate a deal to avert a series of automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester in Washington DC. The cuts would take $85bn (£56bn) from the US federal budget this year.

It is the latest in a series of show-downs between the president and Republicans in Congress over fiscal policy. Will Mr Obama and the Democrats strike a last-minute deal with the Republicans? Will the cuts harm the already weak US economy?

BBC World News America presenter Katty Kay answered your questions in a live Twitter chat on Thursday.

This is an edited version of the session:

Katty tweets: Hello from @BBCNewsUS in Washington, DC - we are ready to get started with your #sequester questions #AskBBCKatty

Mike emails: Why is Obama insisting defence and emergency services be part of sequester, instead of non-essential services?

Katty answers: He is not insisting… defence and emergency services were part of the package of cuts agreed between WH & congress

Peter in Texas emails: Why has there not been any question on cutting Foreign Aid before cutting benefits and programs in the US?

Katty answers: Foreign Aid WILL be cut as part of this crazy deal

Twitter user @TheIntDC asks: Will political parties face voter backlash for failing to reach a deal?

Katty answers: They both think the other party will suffer more. But if the economy declines, no one will benefit from this. It's madness

A G+ follower asks: How many of the rest of us could screw up as badly as congress and not get sacked?

Katty answers: Genius question! If it weren't for gerrymandered districts maybe they all would be sacked in 2014

A reader emails: Will Republicans cave on sequester due to the fact their supporters will not stand for military budget cuts?

Katty answers: It's a big political deal because Republicans haven't wanted ANY cuts to the Pentagon budget until recently

Twitter user ‏@rburrowsjr asks: Why do you think the financial markets aren't reacting more negatively to the impasse?

Katty answers: Interesting isn't it. Neither markets nor public have focused on sequester as they did on fiscal cliff... but they still could

Twitter user @dasteelman asks: Do you think the 'tea party' movement has peaked or do you think it can grow bigger?

Katty answers: Has the fever broken? TP looked like it'd peaked in November, now it's proving it's strength again. Watch 2014

Twitter user @bestdogadvice asks: Why has nothing like the sequester or Fiscal cliff ever happened in countries such as the UK just the US?

Katty answers: Sequester hasn't happened in US before either. UK doesn't have a debt ceiling limit

Twitter user @Babajees asks: How will the sequester effect the "war on terror"?

Katty answers: The Pentagon budget will be cut by 8% so potentially all areas of national security will be affected

A Facebook follower asks: Who do you think is at fault?

Katty answers: I say a plague on both their houses

Twitter user @NathanealSansam asks: Do you think that the debate around immigration reform has been effected by the sequester

Katty answers: It's certainly pushed it off the front pages

A reader emails: Obama administration calls sequester a disaster- wouldn't a deal on the natl debt require even greater cuts?

Katty answers: A major deal on the debt would require bigger cuts but in different areas. These are the wrong cuts for long term growth

Twitter user @SachaJones93 asks: What implications will the sequester have on traveling to and from the USA?

Katty answers: The White House says sequester will cause longer lines at American airports - yuk!

A G+ follower asks: Will we even notice or care if the sequester happens?

Katty answers: Up for debate. WH says sky will fall on our heads. Some economists suggest no big deal. You won't see anything for a month

Twitter user @SifuMikeCamba asks: Did the deal to end the Fiscal Cliff cause the sequester?

Katty answers: Yes

Katty answers: Cont.. Oops. Actually, debt ceiling led to sequester. Bush tax cuts led to fiscal cliff. It's ok to be confused on this

Jorge emails: Who do you think Europeans will blame for sequester, if (& I suppose, when) it happens?

Katty answers: They're bound to blame the Tea Party - they always do!

Twitter user @M00NHARE asks: Will #sequester affect global economic outlook?

Katty answers: Sequester expected to reduce US GDP by 0.3%. Doesn't sound much but, yes, it would affect countries that export to America

Twitter user @pepelasvegas asks: Shouldn't US spend more money on jobs program? At this point, debt reduction not crucial

Katty answers: It's a big debate among economists - if we cut too much too soon we kill recovery but long term debt growth is a real problem

A Twitter follower asks: Which came first your name or job?

Katty answers: You'll have to ask my Mum!

Twitter user ‏@vaisbrodas asks: Fiscal cliff, sequester what's next? Political deadlock in US to stay? Democrats too ambitious or GOP too backward?

Katty answers: I don't see any way out of deadlock. Neither side trusts the other. It's really depressing, and bad for the country

Twitter user @jcnewtonIU asks: Why does it seem like all these Armageddon-esque financial problems are happening now?

Katty answers: Actually there are structural timing reasons for each of them but the lack of trust btwn WH and GOP makes each hard to resolve

Katty tweets: Thank you for joining us today from the @BBCNewsUS newsroom. We'll see you at our next #AskBBCKatty #Twitter session

For more tweets from Katty Kay, you can follow her Twitter account: @KattyKayBBC

Produced by Glenn Osten Anderson and Claudia Milne

More on this story