What exactly is "sequestration"?
- A series of time-released, across-the-board budget cuts totalling $1.2 trillion
- Roughly $85 billion is slated to be cut from federal programmes this year
- The cuts can only be halted by Congress and the White House making a deal
- If a deal isn't reached, the cuts will begin to come into effect at 11:59pm tonight
Sequestration was put into effect as part of the deficit-reducing Budget Control Act of 2011.
Democrats and Republicans agreed to the $1.2 trillion in cuts but scheduled a series of automatic cuts for the future. It was hoped smarter cuts would be agreed to before they came into effect.
Many fear that as the cuts are across the board, they will affect members of the military, defence officials, teachers, the US Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration and, in turn, anyone who uses the services they are responsible for.
More top news
A son paid off his parents' mortgage for Christmas - reducing them to tears.
Intruders killed an eight-week-old puppy during a failed attempt to steal from a house in East Lothian, police have said.
It will be a cold day today, with temperatures dipping below freezing shortly after dark.