Executive Sessionby Senator Jeanne Shaheen
Posted on 2013-02-13
SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to enter into a
colloquy with my colleague, the Senator from Maine, Ms. Collins.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Sequestration Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, Senator Collins and I are here because we agree we must take action in this body and in this Congress to avoid sequestration. Sequestration is a term we have all been throwing around, and it refers to the automatic cuts that are scheduled to take effect on March 1. Those cuts were designed to force Congress to make a tough decision and to take comprehensive action on our debt and deficits.
I think we all agree there is no question we need a comprehensive and balanced plan to put us on a more sustainable fiscal path. I think that plan should look at all areas of spending. It should look at domestic, mandatory, and defense as well as comprehensive tax reform. I think there are many areas of bipartisan agreement on deficit reduction, including controlling the long-term cost of health care.
Unfortunately, Congress has missed several opportunities to enact a long-term plan to get our debt and deficits under control. That is why we are again facing a deadline at the end of this month to address those automatic cuts. As a result of that, we are starting to see the very real and negative consequences of our inaction. We are seeing it on our national security, and we are seeing it on our economy as businesses and agencies alike begin to prepare for the automatic cuts under sequestration.
Last week, Senator Collins and I wrote to the leadership in the Senate urging bipartisan action on sequestration and the need to find a better approach. In our letter, we talked about the impacts we are starting to see in New Hampshire and Maine, including the threat to jobs, our national security, and to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which is critical not only to New Hampshire and Maine but also to this country's national security. We called attention to the drastic effects we face for our economy, for our jobs, and for our national security.
Today we are here to reiterate the importance of addressing sequestration and doing it now.
I wish to thank the senior Senator from Maine, my colleague, for joining me to talk about this important issue, and I am looking forward to hearing her remarks. I know it is something she cares about as much as I do and as much as I think most of the Members of this Chamber do.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.