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Letter to Speaker Boehner: Avoid the Sequester


Location: Washington, DC

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) today voiced his strong opposition to the House Republican proposal to adjourn for recess tomorrow, February 15th, just 13 days before sequestration -- a series of painful spending cuts -- is slated to hit middle class families. Cicilline, who serves on the House Budget Committee, has consistently urged House and Senate leaders to reach an agreement that avoids sequestration without asking seniors, veterans, students, and working families to sacrifice the most.

The full text of Cicilline's letter is as follows. A PDF copy will be provided upon request:

Dear Speaker Boehner,

I write today to strongly urge immediate action on proposals to avert the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect in just over two weeks time due to the pending sequestration. Economists and budget experts have advised Congress to act to avoid this series of automatic cuts that will slow economic growth, cause greater uncertainty for middle class families, and cost my home state of Rhode Island, and the nation, thousands of jobs.

Indiscriminate cuts of this magnitude will severely destabilize our nation's economic recovery, and, ultimately, shift additional costs and burdens to those who can least afford it -- seniors, students, small businesses, and middle class families. As the representative from the state that is tied for the highest rate of unemployment in the country, I urge you in the strongest possible terms to bring to the House floor the thoughtful, balanced proposals that have been offered to replace the so-called sequester so that we may debate them, and vote on them.

Just yesterday, the House Committee on the Budget held its first hearing of the 113th Congress. The Director of the Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf, testified that if sequestration goes forward it will mean the loss of 750,000 jobs in 2013. In my home state alone, sequestration could mean the loss of thousands of jobs at a time when we can least afford another economic downturn. Indiscriminate cuts to vital resources for K-12 and special education, infrastructure development, state and local law enforcement, our defense industry, and health and research initiatives will stall our economy, undermine key priorities we share as a nation, and put more Rhode Islanders and Americans out of work. There are balanced proposals on the table that make more targeted, sensible cuts while also eliminating unneeded and unfair subsidies to the wealthiest among us, big oil companies, and corporate special interests.

In my home state of Rhode Island, more than 57,000 workers are without jobs. On behalf of these men and women, and for the families all across this country who are struggling to make ends meet, I respectfully request that you keep Congress in session next week, rather than adjourning for recess as scheduled, so that we can come together to put forward a balanced replacement to across-the-board spending cuts that threaten our fragile economic recovery.

My best always,

David N. Cicilline

Member of Congress

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