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Ms. JACKSON LEE. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.J. Res. 59, which makes continuing appropriations for Fiscal Year 2014, because it continues the devastating cuts to education set in motion by the sequester and permanently defunds the Affordable Care Act (ACA), legislation that will help save the lives of millions of Americans.
H.J. Res. 59 locks in the damaging sequester cuts through December 15 and even sets funding slightly below the current, post-Ðsequestration level.
It is long past time for Congress to reverse course from the austerity approach that included slashing education across-the-board by 5 percent this year--the equivalent of cutting nearly all education programs and Head Start by roughly $3 billion.
We need to end the sequester now by passing H.R. 900, the ``End Sequestration Now Act,'' of which I am an original co-sponsor.
Madam Speaker, the level of cuts imposed by sequestration have already taken federal funding back to pre-2004 levels while our nation's schools are serving nearly 6 million more students since that time.
Madam Speaker, to ensure equity for all students, Congress must reverse this course.
To date, a disproportionate share of sequester cuts have impacted higher-poverty communities and therefore, students most in need--57,00 children have already lost critical seats in Head Start classes, schools served by Impact Aid have already seen drastic reductions in funding, and additional harmful impacts are beginning to be felt in classrooms as the school year begins.
Many of these school districts and their students rely heavily on federal resources for education funding; some even up to 5 percent of their total revenue.
Madam Speaker, Americans have suffered long enough from the adverse impact of sequestration that House Republicans seek to continue with resolution. The damage has been great and continues to get worse with each passing day the Republicans refuse to work across the aisle to reach agreement on a budget plan that is balanced and sensible.
Consider the damage inflicted or to be inflicted on the American people by sequestration:
Teachers and staff for the 23 million students in high-poverty schools would be reduced by up to 47,000.
Education services for 6 million students with disabilities would be curtailed.
NATIONAL AND LOCAL SECURITY
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program would be eliminated, resulting in 1,400 fewer police officers on the street.
Our national security is being weakened as Army training rotations are being canceled; earlier this year nearly one-third of Air Force squadrons were grounded; and maintenance on equipment and facilities is being deferred.
More than 600,000 civilian Defense employees (85 percent) were furloughed this summer for more than one week, meaning a pay cut of more than $1 billion.
$37 billion in cuts to defense this fiscal year is harming economic growth and our military readiness.
Cutting $1.5 billion from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) means less research into preventing, treating, and curing diseases that affect millions of Americans, like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
A $285 million cut for the Centers for Disease Control is limiting their ability to detect and combat disease outbreaks like pandemic influenza; plan for public health emergencies; and facilitate immunizations that keep you and your family healthy.
Cutting NIH by $6.7 billion will hold back life-saving research.
More than 5 million fewer meals are available for low-income seniors through Meals on Wheels and related programs.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND JOB-CREATING INVESTMENTS
Community Development Block Grants to ensure decent affordable housing, provide services to the most vulnerable, and create jobs by expanding and retaining businesses cut to lowest level in its history.
Clean energy and efficiency research are cut by nearly one-half and breakthrough cutting edge advanced energy research cut 81 percent from 2013 enacted level.
Major job-creating investments in highways, transit, railways, bridges and ports through the TIGER program would be eliminated, while putting modernization of the air traffic control system at risk.
EPA cut by more than 1/3 and grants to local communities for clean water and drinking water slashed.
It is time for Congress to reject a continuation of these draconian cuts and replace the sequester with a balanced package that demands additional revenue, including closing corporate tax loopholes.
Instead of continuing sequestration levels of funding, and trying for the 42nd time to defund, delay, or impede the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we need to work together to develop a balanced and responsible plan that makes the necessary investments that will generate economic growth and create jobs that will enable Americans to live a middle class life.
We should reject this resolution and adopt the substitute resolution offered by my colleague, Congressman VAN HOLLEN, the Ranking Member of the Budget Committee.
The Van Hollen alternative is vastly superior to the resolution before us because it eliminates the sequester's immediate, excessive, and irresponsible cuts to vital investments and replaces these with a roughly 50/50 combination of targeted spending cuts and limits on tax breaks to reduce the deficit in a balanced way.
Moreover, the proposal achieves over $75 billion more in deficit reduction than the sequester would have achieved by doing the following:
Targeted spending cuts--refocuses farm subsidies and makes targeted reductions to out-year defense spending consistent with both the President's budget request and the House Democratic budget.
Additional deficit reduction--reduces deficits by over $75 billion more than the sequester amount.
I urge all members of the House to join me in voting to reject this irresponsible resolution that will not create jobs, places our economic recovery at risk, threatens the health security of millions of Americans, and jeopardizes the creditworthiness of our nation.
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