At a time when we are desperately in need of policies that will get our country back on track and put us on the road to fiscal sustainability, we are facing a dangerous time in our nation's history as the so-called "fiscal cliff" quickly approaches at the year's end.
Though the House has acted to avoid the cliff, if the President and Senate fail to join us, we will face the largest tax increase in history and over a trillion dollars in arbitrary cuts to our budget, including half a trillion in defense cuts which would devastate Virginia and negatively impact our men and women in uniform. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents agree that the combination of arbitrary cuts and massive tax hikes will have a devastating effect on our struggling economy, plunging us into a deep recession at a time we can least afford it.
The effects of the looming fiscal cliff can already be seen across the 5 th District and our country. Just last week, a report indicated that our manufacturers have already stopped investing and have been forced to lay off workers. The report noted that if Congress fails to avoid the cliff, nearly 6 million jobs will be destroyed nationwide in the next two years, sending our unemployment rate soaring at a time when so many are struggling to find jobs. In addition to the 6 million manufacturing jobs that could be lost across the country, estimates indicate that up to 200,000 Virginia jobs will be lost due to the defense cuts alone.
Fifth District Virginians and Americans across this country have been struggling through 8% unemployment and a downtrodden economy for the last four years due to the Senate and the President's inaction. And despite House efforts to adopt policies that will promote job creation and get our economy back on track, the President and the Senate have still not stepped up to the plate. The House has acted to avoid the fiscal cliff that is set to take places at the year's end -- but like most of the other legislation we have passed, these measures still remain stalled in the Senate.
In May, we adopted legislation to replace the President's defense sequester and protect our troops by adopting responsible spending reforms which reduce the deficit by an additional $242.8 billion, without putting our service men and women in harms way.
In August, the House passed legislation that will create economic certainty for our job creators by stopping the largest tax hike in history and making the necessary reforms to our tax code to spur job creation. These measures would keep taxes low for everyone and avoid the loss of nearly 700,000 jobs that have been estimated to be lost should the President's tax hike go into effect, while fixing our broken tax code.
We can do better than four years of 8% plus unemployment, and we can certainly do better than the President and the Senate's inaction, which is inching us dangerously close to the fiscal cliff and into a deep recession. The future of our country is more important than political brinksmanship and it is my hope that our colleagues in the White House and the Senate will join with us in the House in order to adopt pro-growth policies that make the necessary spending and tax reforms and put us on the path toward a balanced budget so that we may preserve this great nation for our children and grandchildren.