U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3) today called on both sides in Washington to stop the blame game and get to work to stop the across-the-board budget cuts scheduled to take effect March 1. The deep cuts that would take place under the sequester threaten to further damage the country's fragile economy and put another hit on the middle class while also undercutting our military readiness. Lipinski called on Congress to replace the sequester with a responsible debt reduction package based on the bipartisan $2.4 trillion deficit reduction plan unveiled this week by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles.
"The sequester uses a meat cleaver when a scalpel should be used. It's not the way to go about responsibly reducing our deficit," Rep. Lipinski said. "If we do nothing between now and March 1, we will make $85 billion in sweeping cuts without choosing between necessary and wasteful programs. It will also hurt our slow economic recovery and threaten our military readiness. This is irresponsible.
"I believe we have an opportunity, as we did with the fiscal cliff, to chart a bold new course that reduces our debt, strengthens entitlements, and reforms the tax code. The new Simpson-Bowles plan offers a roadmap."
Released on Tuesday, the new Simpson-Bowles plan would reduce the federal deficit by an estimated additional $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years through a combination of spending cuts, new revenue, and tax reform. The new plan updates the first Simpson-Bowles proposal released in 2010 as part National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. A year ago, Rep. Lipinski helped bring to the House floor a budget based on the Simpson-Bowles recommendations and was one of a "Brave 38" in the House who supported it, earning him the Paul E. Tsongas Economic Patriot Award from the Concord Coalition, honoring those who have demonstrated a commitment to fiscal responsibility.
"While today's updated Simpson-Bowles plan is not perfect, I believe it is the best model to not only avoid the sequester, but to also stabilize our national debt, which threatens our economy," Lipinski said. "The purpose of the sequester was to put into place budget cuts that would be unacceptable to both Democrats and Republicans; the assumption was that this would coerce both sides to sit down at the bargaining table and agree to a compromise debt reduction plan. After failing for a year and a half to come to an agreement on a plan, on Jan. 1 we avoided the sequester by kicking the can down the road for two months. So here we are again, and both sides seem to be content to try to pin the blame on the other party. This is a disgrace. We must reduce our debt, but no one believes the sequester is good policy. Simpson and Bowles have given us an outline. Now let's stop the posturing and get to work for the American people."