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Public Statements

CBC Hour: The Impact of Sequestration

Floor Speech

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Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. DANNY K. DAVIS of Illinois. Madam Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman for his leadership in hosting this event. It is so good to see young and talented individuals come to the Congress, building upon the experiences that they've had in their city, State, and local governments, and it's a pleasure to be here.

You know, I've been told that you can measure the humaneness of a society by how well it treats its old, how well it treats its young, and how well it treats those who have difficulty caring for themselves. I was just thinking that should the sequestration deal hold through the end of the fiscal year, between 600,000 and 750,000 low-income women, infants, and children will be turned away.

This would be not only unfortunate, but it would be a tremendous change in what precedence has been because traditionally, dating back to 1997, both parties have made it a point of trying to make sure that this population group did in fact have an opportunity to participate in the Women, Infants, and Children program and that low-income pregnant women, infants, and children, the most vulnerable members of our society, would be able to have the basic necessities of life.

And it was amazing to me this weekend, as I watched a little bit of television on Sunday morning, on the traditional Sunday talk shows, and how different Representatives were characterizing this action as: not as bad as some people thought it was going to be; it's not going to affect as many people as it seems; our country has not fallen into Lake Michigan.

Well, I can tell you, if you are a young, pregnant mother with no money, no place to go, and you rely upon the Women, Infants, and Children program to try to make sure that you produce a healthy baby who just comes into the world with a chance to make it and who, without these services, may come into life already disadvantaged, already behind.

And so I don't know how we can actually do this with a good conscience. But, also, I can't imagine what it is that we're thinking. How do you cut, cut, cut jobs and opportunities for people to work and expect to raise a recessed economy?

I've always been led to believe that you've got to have the exchange of goods and services. You've got to keep money flowing in an economy, in a society, to move it beyond the bottom up towards the top.

And so, in the recessed state that we're in, we need to be producing jobs, creating work opportunity, not furloughing, laying people off, having them wonder what they're going to be able to do. I think it's the wrong approach. I think it's not a good way to manage our resources, and I think it's not a good message that we're sending to the American people.

So, sir, I want to thank you, again, for the opportunity to participate with you and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus as we raise awareness that, with this sequestration deal, our country is headed in the wrong direction.

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