>>>>> Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns about upcoming automatic spending cuts known as sequestration. I share your strong concerns about these spending cuts and welcome the chance to discuss this important subject with you.
As you know, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Budget Control Act of 2011. One provision of the law stipulated that if Congress failed to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion by December 23, 2011, an equivalent $1.2 trillion across-the-board spending cut, a process known as sequestration, would take effect on January 2, 2013. Sequestration would affect all areas of our community and government, including education, Medicare, transportation, defense, and many other programs.
Late on January 1, 2013, Congress rushed to pass legislation, American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8), to avert the “fiscal cliff.” Included in this bill was a provision delaying the sequester for two months, until March 1, 2013. This legislation constituted not a solution, but a delay in addressing the very serious issues facing our nation. Congress remains embroiled in fundamental budget discussions left wholly unaddressed in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.
I too believe that the impact of sequestration would be devastating for our nation, our economy, and the future for all Americans. Our country faces serious budget challenges, and tackling the deficit is important to our country’s long term future. At the same time, I believe it is vital that our country address the deficit in a responsible way so that we can continue to make needed investments in priorities like education, research, and infrastructure. Many government programs make vital contributions to our economy by rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, strengthening our schools, contributing to science and research, and by supporting our national defense.
That is why I oppose automatic, across the board cuts, and instead I support a balanced approach to reduce the deficit, while protecting the middle class, seniors, veterans, and the most vulnerable in our society. We must replace sequestration with a balanced solution that differentiates between critical programs that invest in our nation’s future, rather than slash and burn. This will allow us to address our long-term deficit problem and make key investments in our economy to help create jobs.
To that end, I am a strong supporter and proud cosponsor of the Congressional Progressive Caucus‘s proposed budget [The People’s Budget] that would avert the sequester. This proposal, dubbed “The Balancing Act” (H.R. 505), outlines three stages of deficit reduction, two of which have occurred already: 1) $1.7 trillion in spending cuts from the Budget Control Act sequestration, 2) $737 billion in new revenues as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act solution to the fiscal cliff and 3) replacing the $948 billion sequester cuts with roughly the same amount in new revenues derived from closing loopholes and income tax reductions that favor corporations and wealthy Americans. H.R. 505 would also cut defense spending, reallocating $278 billion of its budget to domestic infrastructure spending and other stimulus spending in the American Jobs Act. I support this plan because it represents a thoughtful approach to reducing the deficit that includes both revenues and spending cuts , while avoiding the dangerous across-the-board cuts that could send our economy back into recession.
If you are interested in following a particular piece of legislation through the legislative process, the website hosted by the Library of Congress at http://thomas.loc.gov is extremely helpful. It provides a wealth of information about legislation under consideration in the current Congress as well as bills introduced in earlier sessions. The site is called Thomas to honor President Thomas Jefferson and his belief in public access to the workings of government.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I welcome your views, and look forward to hearing from you in the future.
Member of Congress