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Henry J.
Democrat GA 4

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  • Sequestration

    by Representative Henry C. "Hank" Johnson Jr.

    Posted on 2013-02-26

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    JOHNSON of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, sequestration is a self- inflicted wound that really does not have to happen.



    I hate to make my Tea Party friends uncomfortable by using a dirty word, but with a little compromise we can get this thing passed. If Tea Party Republicans choose not to compromise, sequestration will arbitrarily take $85 billion out of our economy, lowering our GDP and harming our economic recovery.

    We shouldn't sacrifice our economic well-being because Republicans are unwilling to vote for one penny in new contributions from their billionaire friends. Republicans continue to stand up for the billionaires. They continue to stand up for the oil companies and all of the other powerful interests out there that are making money hand over foot while middle class Americans are asked to shoulder the burden of the Tea Party obsession of cutting government.

    Now, there is a big difference, ladies and gentlemen, between cutting government and cutting services that people need and depend on. There is a big difference between having a less costly government versus not having a government to do the things that people need to be done. Let's take, for instance, the Defense budget. Last week, at a constituents' meeting, Senator John McCain said that these sequester cuts could significantly undermine military programs.

    ``We are facing a situation where our national security is at risk,'' Senator McCain said, adding that furloughs could affect as many as 49,000 military and defense jobs in Arizona.

    I'll tell you, in Georgia, what's going to happen is that 37,000 civilian Department of Defense employees will be furloughed, reducing gross pay by $190 million. Army base funding would be cut by $233 million, and funding for Air Force operations would be cut by $5 million. This is in the State of Georgia. This is for this current fiscal year. Can you imagine that much money coming out of the economy and its not having an impact on the overall economy? It certainly will.

    Let's take all of those who travel. You go to the airport. You rely on the air traffic controllers to make sure that the planes are situated and are flying safely so that nobody is going to bump into each other up there in the sky. You're dependent on your TSA personnel to check and make sure that nobody is armed when one gets on the plane. All of those services that you take for granted will be cut if we continue to embark upon this self-inflicted wound of sequestration.

    A balanced approach to deficit reduction will help support the American people through job creation, economic growth, and a strong middle class while responsibly reducing our Nation's debt. House Democrats have proposed balanced solutions that reflect what the American people voted for in November. Instead of considering these or any other proposals, the Tea Party Republicans continue their strategy to obstruct the President so that they can blame him and the Democrats when the economy goes bad. They continue to play politics with this Nation's economy so that they can be well positioned in the upcoming midterm elections in 2014. This is very reckless behavior.

    We have 3 more days before sequestration takes effect. Instead of dealing with the sequestration, instead of dealing with gun control, instead of dealing with immigration, instead of dealing with a budget resolution for next year, today, this House of Representatives is dealing with a resolution. So this do-nothing Congress continues, and the American people will suffer.

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