Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) called on Congress to come together and act to avert the across the board cuts, known as sequestration, before they kick-in on March 1.
Bustos has always opposed sequestration because of the negative impact it could have on vital interests like the Rock Island Arsenal, the National Guard in Peoria, defense companies in Rockford, and on middle class families and communities across Illinois' 17th Congressional District.
Two weeks ago, Bustos called on Speaker John Boehner to keep the House in session, and not recess, until a deal was reached to avoid sequestration. Unfortunately, this advice wasn't heeded and lawmakers were sent home without a plan in place to stop sequestration. A copy of the letter Bustos and the other members of Congress sent to Speaker Boehner can be found at http://1.usa.gov/XDF0dS.
Earlier this month, Bustos introduced the Government Waste Reduction Act (H.R. 530), a bipartisan common sense bill that would help reduce the deficit in a balanced way by reducing duplicative services and rooting out waste in government, while preserving crucial services and programs.
"With sequestration only days away, Congress needs to come together to avert cuts that could hurt middle class communities across our region," said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. "We need to cut the deficit in a balanced way, not take an ax to our economy and put more people out of work. That's why I've proposed the Government Waste Reduction Act, a bipartisan common sense bill to help reduce the deficit while keeping in place the programs middle class families rely on. Let's work together and take sequestration off the table for good."
A new report from the White House illustrates just how damaging sequestration could be on middle class families across Illinois.
Teachers and Schools: Illinois will lose approximately $33.4 million for primary and secondary education, putting around 460 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 39,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 120 fewer schools would receive funding.
Education for Children with Disabilities: Illinois will lose approximately $24.7 million for about 300 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.
College Aid and Work-Study Jobs: Around 3,280 fewer low income students in Illinois would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 2,650 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.
Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 2,700 children in Illinois, reducing access to critical early education.
Military Readiness: In Illinois, approximately 14,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $83.5 million in total.
Law Enforcement and Public Safety Funds: Illinois will lose about $587,000 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.
Job Search Assistance: Around 50,780 fewer Illinoisans will get the help and skills they need to find employment as Illinois will lose about $1.4 million for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning.
Child Care: Up to 1,100 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.
Vaccines for Children: In Illinois around 5,230 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations.
Violence Against Women Grants: Illinois could lose up to $273,000 to provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 1,000 fewer victims being served.
Nutrition for Seniors: Illinois would lose approximately $764,000 to help provide meals for seniors.
Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Illinois would lose about $6.4 million to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste.
Public Health: Illinois will lose approximately $968,000 to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Illinois will lose about $3.5 million in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 3,900 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Illinois State Department of Public Health will lose about $186,000 resulting in around 4,600 fewer HIV tests.