Sequestration debate continues

The budget debate continues in Washington D.C. while thousands of Upper  Michigan families wait and wonder about the effects of sequestration.A host of programs and jobs are on the chopping block that make a different to Upper Michigan residents.  The White House does not say the country cannot afford to fund these programs.  It says Republicans refuse to allocate spending for the list that includes:

… 300-500 Michigan teacher and aide jobs

…federal aid to help pay for college for some 4,000 students

… Head Start and Early Head Start services  for about  2,300 children

…  $5.9 million in environmental funding for Michigan

about 10,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed

… $482,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

…$1.7 million in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement.

Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) today released the following statement regarding automatic federal spending reductions proposed by President Obama, known in Washington as sequestration:

“Frankly, it’s very frustrating to see Washington once again fail to do anything about the problems our nation is facing.   In the House, we have passed two different common sense bills last year that would have replaced the president’s sequester with smarter spending reductions, but the Senate never acted on them. They knew this mess was coming for over a year now and they have done nothing.

 Hard working taxpayers in Northern Michigan are fed up with seeing Washington move from one fiscal crisis to another.  This is no way to run the government and it is killing job growth right now. This keeps happening because the Senate and the White House have not put forward any responsible budget plan that get’s Washington’s spending under control.

 We need a federal budget now. It’s time these guys in Washington get their act together and offer a plan to outline and prioritize the federal government’s spending for the next year and beyond.  I’ve supported reasonable budget plans in the House the last two years. They might not be perfect, but at least these budgets are a plan. And the American people deserve a plan.”

In a statement to the press Thursday, President Barack Obama said :

“Republicans in the Senate faced a choice about how to grow our economy and reduce our deficit.  And instead of closing a single tax loophole that benefits the well-off and well-connected, they chose to cut vital services for children, seniors, our men and women in uniform and their families.  They voted to let the entire burden of deficit reduction fall squarely on the middle class.

 I believe we should do better.  We should work together to reduce our deficit in a balanced way – by making smart spending cuts and closing special interest tax loopholes.  That’s exactly the kind of plan Democrats in the Senate have proposed.  But even though a majority of Senators support this approach, Republicans have refused to allow it an up-or-down vote – threatening our economy with a series of arbitrary, automatic budget cuts that will cost us jobs and slow our recovery.

 (Friday) I will bring together leaders from both parties to discuss a path forward.  As a nation, we can’t keep lurching from one manufactured crisis to another.  Middle-class families can’t keep paying the price for dysfunction in Washington.  We can build on the over $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction we’ve already achieved, but doing so will require Republicans to compromise.  That’s how our democracy works, and that’s what the American people deserve.