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American budget bickering expected to impact border operations

Observers warn of potential airport and land crossing delays due to budget cuts



American president Barack Obama has warned Americans that things are about to change across the USA as $85 billion in government spending cuts begin today (March 2).

The warning came in a radio address delivered by the president. The cuts are a product of the inability of Republicans and Democrats to approve a federal budget deal.

Obama didn’t include in his speech to Americans that Canadians are also expected to feel the impacts of the cuts.

The budget battle in the USA is expected to lead to wage cuts and reduced hours for hundreds of thousands of Americans who work as border control agents, FBI agents and civilian defense department employees. Unpaid days off are expected to be imposed on health workers, educators, science researchers, police officers and Federal Aviation Administration employees.

The first sign of impacts in Canada are expected to be longer than normal waits for people leaving the USA to visit Canada. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said this speculation causes him concern. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said earlier this week that Ottawa would be watching the situation closely.

According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, delays of up to 90 minutes at some airports could be expected.

Organizations like Tourism Whistler have successfully been part of lobby efforts to make it as easy as possible for American visitors to Canada so they can get to Whistler to enjoy all that the resort has to offer. If predicted longer waits materialize some American travelers may choose to avoid crossing the border.

“None of this is necessary,” Obama said in his radio and Internet address. “It’s happening because Republicans in Congress chose this outcome over closing a single wasteful tax loophole that helps reduce the deficit.”

In response Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State said in the weekly address from the Republicans that Obama and the Democrats should cut spending instead of raising taxes.

"In the last year, the House of Representatives has passed two proposals to replace the president's sequester with smarter spending cuts," said McMorris Rodgers.

In the exchange of conflicting views on the American federal budget Obama used science fiction pop cultural references that have spread widely through socials media channels

"I'm presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don't take it means that I should somehow, you know, do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what's right," Obama said to reporters.

The next key date in the American budget stand off is March 27 when the American Congress has to pass a new budget or agree to temporary funding to avoid a government shutdown.