Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today voted against the House continuing resolution (CR) that funds government operations until the end of this fiscal year at budget sequestration levels, which the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service found could cost 1.4 million jobs nationwide this year alone. The Pentagon is slated to send out 800,000 furlough notices to civilian employees. Rather than responding to the growing military disability claims backlog, the VA mental health care crisis, or veterans' ongoing struggles with finding employment, the sequester-level funding approved today by the House jeopardizes TRICARE and family support programs. Some other features include:
Funding levels in the CR will impede the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as states and the Department of Health and Human Services establish health insurance exchanges. With a few exceptions, the CR reduces funding for every program in the Labor, Health and Education section below today's funding levels.
The CR cuts Head Start by $400 million, resulting in 70,000 children losing access to comprehensive early learning and development services.
The CR cuts $730 millionfrom Title I programs for education of the disadvantaged -- the equivalent of cutting instructional services for more than 2,500 schools serving more than 1 million disadvantaged children.
The CR cuts $282 millionfrom job training programs, resulting in hundreds of thousands of unemployed adults, dislocated workers, veterans, young adults, and students losing access to employment services.
The CR cuts more than $1.5 billionin National Institutes of Health grant funding, which will slow the pace of important scientific research, result in fewer research awards, and threaten the jobs of researchers across the country.
The CR cuts more than $580 million in special education grant funding, which is the rough equivalent of shifting the cost of educating nearly 300,000 students with special needs to states and local education agencies.
The CR cuts $115 millionfrom child care programs, which will cause roughly 30,000 children to lose access to child care.
The CR forces yet another pay freeze on all federal employees, which is widely expected to prevent the recruitment and retention of a qualified and committed federal workforce.
"I won't be told to vote for a bill that slashes everything in sight in the name of getting the budget process over with," Grijalva said. "What House Republicans are doing to this country borders on criminal. This might be the first time we've seen a political party simultaneously take hostages and refuse to negotiate. The Congressional Progressive Caucus Back to Work Budget, which reduces unemployment to near five percent and reduces the national deficit by more than four trillion dollars in the next decade, is the way out of this mess. Austerity is going to be seen as the short-sighted ideological failure that it is, and we should stop this now before anyone else gets needlessly put out of work."