"U.S. government won't fall apart on 'sequester' day of reckoning," by Reuters' Richard Cowan and David Lawder : "While some furlough notices will be issued to government workers, there will be few outward signs on March 1 that the cuts have been launched. Under the law, retirees are shielded and so their Social Security checks will arrive on schedule at the beginning of March and every month thereafter. Similarly, the elderly and the disabled will not see their federally backed Medicare healthcare curtailed at all over the seven months. Every U.S. soldier will get paid and the Defense Department will be allowed to shift funds to ensure that combat operations and 'critical military readiness capabilities' are not degraded, according to the Obama administration. Unofficially, many members of Congress are betting that a few weeks into the automatic spending cuts, Democratic and Republican leaders will get serious about negotiating a replacement to the sequestration and the $85 billion in spending cuts will not have had time to really bite. ...
"On March 1 and in the days immediately after , while no dramatic shakeup is anticipated, there will be some early tremors. * Government agencies are likely to issue 30-day warnings of impending furloughs of government workers. They could be told that starting on April 1 they will have to stay home for a maximum of 22 days between March 1 and Sept. 30. * New government contracts could slow in anticipation of no deal being reached to replace the sequestration. This would hit defense contractors and road and bridge builders alike. * Members of Congress, who are not exempt from the spending cuts, will be advised to begin preparing their staffs for either salary cuts or layoffs if they have to shave funds from their approximately $4 billion in annual appropriations."