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Automatic spending cuts that took effect last Friday are expected to touch a vast range of government services. Some examples:
People arriving on international flights were said to experience delays at airport customs and immigration booths, including at Los Angeles International and O'Hare International in Chicago. Officials said Monday that's because they closed lanes that would have previously been staffed by workers on overtime. Though the spending cuts went into effect last week, furloughs of air traffic controllers won't kick in until April because the Federal Aviation Administration is required by law to give its employees advance notice. Officials have warned that the nation's busiest airports could be forced to close some of their runways, causing widespread flight delays and cancellations. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood predicts flights to cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco could have delays of up to 90 minutes during peak hours because fewer controllers will be on duty.
Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff painted a dire picture of construction projects on hold, limits on aircraft carriers patrolling the waters and even a delay in the expansion of Arlington National Cemetery. Veterans' funerals at Arlington could be cut to 24 a day from 31 because of furloughs among civilian employees who work with families to schedule services as well as furloughs among crews that dig the graves and do other grounds work. Troops killed in action in Afghanistan will be the priority â¿¿ they are usually laid to rest within two weeks. The Pentagon says it will be forced to furlough for one day a week about 15,000 teachers who work at schools around the world for children of people in the military. The teachers are among some 800,000 defense department civilians who will lose a day's pay each week for more than five months. The Army will let go more than 3,000 temporary and contract employees and beginning in April, it will cancel maintenance at depots which will force 5,000 more layoffs. The Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy's Blue Angels will cancel air show appearances. The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman sits pier-side in Norfolk, Va., its deployment to the Persian Gulf delayed. Commissaries will be open only five days a week instead of six.