CNN Radio News Day: February 20, 2013
Last Week's Senate Hearing On Impacts Of Sequestration
February 20th, 2013
04:49 PM ET

CNN Radio News Day: February 20, 2013

CNN Radio News Day is an evening news program providing an informative, thoughtful and creative look at the day's events. It's posted Monday through Friday at 4:30 pm ET.

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(CNN) – Welcome to CNN Radio News Day.

  • In just over a week the so-called sequester is set to take effect.  The automatic, across-the-board spending cuts, add up to more than $1 trillion.  By law these blind budget cuts are supposed to hit across every program. That could lead to furloughs or reduced hours for USDA meat inspectors, air traffic controllers, customs agents, and thousands of civilians who work for the Defense Department. Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter says 80,000 civilians who work at the Pentagon will be forced to take off nearly a month unpaid:

"The net of it is that many of them will be furloughed for as many as 22 days before April 1st, say, and the end of the year.  In other words, a fifth of their paycheck gone. So that's a real human impact."

  • With just a half-hour to spare, Georgia death row inmate Warren Hill got a reprieve last night. He was scheduled to be put to death for a 1990 murder, but federal and state appeals courts stepped in and temporarily saved his life. Warren is by many accounts mentally retarded, but state prosecutors say that has not been proven in court. John Blume teaches law at Cornell University:

“I think what the Eleventh Circuit, at least the majority of the Circuit's grappling with, is... this is someone who everybody agrees shouldn't be executed."

  • America's partisan political divide has led to persistent gridlock in Congress. In fact, the polarization is so profound that some Americans fear the federal government may soon be unable to perform even the most basic functions. Partisan allegiance is also stifling efforts to compromise within state legislatures.  But politics aren't quite as paralyzing in Nebraska.  Former Lieutenant Governor Kim Robak credits the unique, single-house legislature known as a unicameral:

"We don't have the arguing and the gridlock and the vitriol that you see at the national level because of partisan politics."

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