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  • Sequestration

    by Representative Donald M. Payne Jr.

    Posted on 2013-02-27

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    PAYNE. Madam Speaker, I stand here today in absolute disappointment with this body and the total lack of Republican leadership. I can't even begin to express the disappointment I have with the GOP leaders who choose to play a game of chicken rather than do something to save 2 million American jobs.

    After more than 20 years of watching my father serve the 10th Congressional District of New Jersey, the district that he loved, I came here to Washington to do the same. I came down here to get to work, to dig in, to get my hands dirty, and to help resolve the pressing issues that will ruin this country if ignored.

    As we speak, people are terrified; and if they aren't terrified, it's because they've stopped listening to the partisan bickering. But make no mistake, these cuts will be unimaginable to people across the country and to people across New Jersey's 10th Congressional District.

    So I ask my colleagues: why are we here again? Why? We've played this game before, heard this tune, danced this oppressing musical number before. It's like I'm Bill Murray in the movie ``Groundhog Day,'' where every morning I wake up hoping it is a new day, and every morning I wake up to the same maddening song. It's the song of a failed Republican leadership doing absolutely nothing--nothing all over again.

    Talk about a do-nothing Congress. The 112th Congress passed just 283 bills, and 22 percent of them were bills to name post offices, courthouses, and other projects. So when you break it down, Congress really only voted to pass two bills a week--two bills a week. We can do better than this, but we need to work together.

    When I speak to my fellow Democrat Members, there is a frustration. They are frustrated because we've seen the pain and fear in the people we speak to back home. There's frustration because we are ready to work. That's why I was sent here. That's what I was sent here to do.

    So let's stop the nonsense and let's get to work. The effects of sequestration are real. Maybe people don't understand what the word ``sequestration'' means, but when they start to lose vital services that they need to live, it is going to devastate working families, the middle class, and the vulnerable in my district.

    In New Jersey alone, more than 40,000 people could lose their jobs. New Jersey will lose $17 million in funding for teachers, aids, and staff who help disabled children. Thirteen hundred children in New Jersey will be cut from Head Start. Eleven thousand civilian Department of Defense employees will be furloughed. Senior Meals on Wheels programs will lose nearly half a million in funding in New Jersey, possibly the only meal they have for the day. And funds will be slashed for victims of domestic violence, resulting in 700 victims not receiving the care that they need to survive.

    Right now, Democrats have a plan on the table that will stop sequestration and start reducing the deficit in a balanced way. It's a plan that cuts spending responsibly, closes corporate tax loopholes, protects the most vulnerable, and ensures millionaires pay their fair share. And you know what? More than 76 percent of the American people support a balanced plan.

    Including today, we have 3 days to go; and with $85 billion in automatic deep spending cuts on the chopping block, it's time for Washington to stop playing games, stop pointing fingers and do what's right by the American people. That's what the American people expect, and, quite frankly, that's what they deserve.

    Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to bring H.R. 699, the Stop the Sequester Job Loss Now Act, to the floor.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of January 3, 2013, the House is in session solely for the purpose of conducting morning-hour debate. Therefore, the gentleman's request cannot be entertained.

    [[Page H671]] Mr. PAYNE. Madam Speaker, I'm deeply saddened for the American people that we are unable to bring this bill to the floor and stop the loss of 2 million American jobs.


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