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Dangerous Impact of Sequestration Cuts

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to share with my colleagues two documents that outline both the dangerous impact of sequestration cuts and how we could replace them in a way that helps, not hurts, the American people.

The report, ``Protecting Our Nation from Bad Federal Budget Choices,'' from the Coalition on Human Needs, includes these key facts about the sequester's impact:

600,000 children and mothers will lose nutritional aid under WIC (the Women, Infants, and Children program).

125,000 low-income families will lose rental housing vouchers.

70,000 children will be denied Head Start.

4 million fewer Meals on Wheels meals served to seniors.

373,000 adults and children with serious mental illness will lose treatment.

I would also like to draw my colleagues' attention to, ``Faithful Alternatives to the Sequester,'' from the Interreligious Working Group on Domestic Human Needs. I would like to quote from their document:

``We are alarmed at the growing economic divergence between rich and poor, creating permanent inequalities that are neither just nor socially sustainable. Over the past thirty years, tax policy has too often been used to perpetuate rather than address these inequalities. It is our responsibility, both individually and collectively, to respond to those who are in need--people living in poverty have sacrificed more than enough on the altar of deficit reduction. We need a more progressive tax code, where all members of the community carry their fair share of the responsibility, not only to ensure that we can meet immediate need while simultaneously reducing our deficits, but also to begin to address the astronomical growth in disparity over the last thirty years. .....

``There are core challenges facing our nation: rising income inequality, persistent unemployment, historically high rates of poverty and anemic economic growth. These challenges must be addressed with justice. .....

``Our approach to upcoming sequestration needs to be rooted in our values--a balanced approach that addresses the deficit crisis with justice and compassion. On the one hand, we need to be good stewards of the resources we already have, making judicious cuts to defense, earmarks, and other wasteful spending, while preserving that which is most important for the good of all. On the other hand, we must increase revenue, in order to ensure that this nation can meet our need to operate a fair and just economy, which serves all of our human community. The nation's deficit crisis cannot be solved through spending cuts alone--new revenues must be part of the solution. The need is great and the resources are abundant. The budget choices we make must reflect this reality.''

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