Unless Congress takes action, in just four days the government will initiate $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that will severely impact Wisconsin schools, seniors and small businesses. Following a report released by the White House last night that highlighted the specific effects of these cuts on the Badger state, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) once again called on his colleagues in Washington to come to the table and work on a balanced plan to avoid this unnecessary crisis.
"How many warnings will Washington need to force us to take action and avoid this unnecessary and irresponsible budget tornado? How many teachers will we need to layoff, how many more small businesses will struggle to obtain a loan, and how many seniors will need to go hungry for us to decide that the time for political posturing is over?" said Rep. Pocan. "Despite what others in Washington and Madison may say, the effects of these cuts are real and serious. Middle class families in Wisconsin do not deserve to have their economic security put at risk because some in Washington find it politically inconvenient to do their jobs.
"I have joined my Democratic colleagues in the House to support a plan that would replace these automatic spending cuts with commonsense initiatives that will promote economic growth and reduce our deficit without unduly threatening the security of the neediest Wisconsin residents. I am ready and eager to work with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle on these and other solutions that will restore the security and certainty our families in Wisconsin need."
Previous reports on the effects of sequestration have shown that the across-the-board spending cuts would result in the loss of 2.14 million jobs nationally, including 36,000 jobs in Wisconsin, and loan guarantees to small businesses would be reduced by up to $900 million across the country.
The new report indicates that Wisconsin communities would face the below consequences if the automatic spending cuts take place on Friday:
Teachers and Schools: Wisconsin will lose approximately $8.5 million in funding for primary and secondary education. In addition about 10,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 50 fewer schools would receive funding.
Education for Children with Disabilities: Wisconsin will lose approximately $10.1 million in funds for teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.
Work-Study Jobs: Around 550 fewer low income students in Wisconsin would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 420 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.
Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 900 children in Wisconsin, reducing access to critical early education.
Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Wisconsin would lose about $3,875,000 in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Wisconsin could lose another $1,479,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.
Military Readiness: In Wisconsin, approximately 3,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $12.4 million in total. Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $1 million in Wisconsin.
Job Search Assistance to Help those in Wisconsin find Employment and Training: Wisconsin will lose about $661,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 23,120 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.
Child Care: Up to 500 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.
Vaccines for Children: In Wisconsin around 2,540 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $173,000.
Public Health: Wisconsin will lose approximately $543,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Wisconsin will lose about $1,390,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 2,600 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Wisconsin Department of Health Services will lose about $108,000 resulting in around 2,700 fewer HIV tests and fewer patients with access to HIV medications.
STOP Violence Against Women Program: Wisconsin could lose up to $120,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 500 fewer victims being served.
Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: Wisconsin would lose approximately $653,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.