Sequestration

Floor Speech

By:  Dan Maffei
Date: Feb. 27, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. MAFFEI. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Since becoming central New York's new Representative, I have met with over a hundred business owners and development leaders in my community. I've visited universities, the hospitals, the factories, the public schools, and I've met with local leaders and law enforcement and public safety. The one message I keep hearing throughout my district is that we need to work together to grow and strengthen our middle class and create jobs. Work together. Now, more than ever, that's what Congress and the President needs to do. That's what the American people and my constituents overwhelmingly want.

If people do not come to the table and work together by March 1, this Friday, more than 70,000 jobs are at risk in my State alone. At Hancock Air Base, New York National Guard employees, 280 of them are at risk. Two hundred eighty National Guard employees at the 174th Attack Wing will be furloughed, notwithstanding the fact that this unit is flying missions in Afghanistan as we debate these issues.

Automatic spending cuts will force the FAA to cut air traffic controller shifts and potentially eliminate overnight shifts at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport and other upstate New York airports. Cuts will also force TSA to cut back on personnel, increasing wait times by an hour or more at many airports. This will have a chilling effect on a still-fragile economic recovery.

Seventy thousand New York college students will lose tuition assistance, and across the country, 70,000 deserving children will lose Head Start. Now, to keep America strong we are told that we need to make sure for our national security and our economy that we improve STEM education, science and technology. This is doing the opposite.

We need to take a balanced approach, trimming where necessary instead of these arbitrary sweeping cuts that hurt middle class families.

This is not a partisan issue. The Republicans on this floor have spoken about how bad these arbitrary cuts are and how damaging they might be. Our Nation needs to get its fiscal house in order, and we need to do it right away, not on the backs of our middle class and seniors, and not at the expense of thousands of jobs.

Now, there is a specific plan to do that. It balances cuts with revenue increases.

Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to bring up H.R. 699 with this balanced approach.

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Mr. MAFFEI. Well, Madam Speaker, I do understand that, but I do hope that the leadership of this House considers just doing a vote, a regular up-or-down vote, on this or any plan to avoid these arbitrary cuts.

We need to institute better programs and methods to root out waste, fraud, and abuse and ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used most efficiently. There's no question about that. We also need comprehensive tax reform that finds revenues in ways that don't hurt the middle class, like ending the tax loopholes for corporations that ship jobs overseas and ending the tax breaks for big oil and gas companies.

Madam Speaker, our plan is a balanced approach. More spending cuts and modest revenue increases. Now is not the time for partisan politics. With the future of our economy hanging in the balance, we cannot afford inaction.