Who gets hit first also depends on how the government's budget flows. Education aid to school districts, for instance, is delivered in the fall, so impacts won't be felt until the new school year. But some teachers are already being informed that they could lose their jobs in August or September. Most Head Start programs won't feel cuts until the upcoming school year, too.
Some programs, like subsidized child care for the poor, are run by states, which will have flexibility in how to allocate the cuts. Just one in six eligible low-income families benefits from a federally funded child care slot. Cuts to the program leave states with difficult options: reduce the number of children cared for, require poor families to contribute more or cut payments to providers.
"I don't think people are going to feel it as dramatically as the administration has been suggesting," said Hoagland. "I'm not questioning the administration's numbers, I'm questioning their timing."