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Price Calls for Republicans to Help Avoid Sequester

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Representative David Price (NC-04) issued the following statement today calling on Congressional Republicans to work with Democrats to avert sequestration, an $85 billion across-the-board spending cut that would undermine the economic recovery and slash many of the programs that invest in children, veterans, seniors and our middle class. Price also expressed his concern as the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that sequestration would hobble critical homeland security functions.

"There is no question we need to cut the deficit over the long-term, and we must do it in a balanced way, protecting our economic recovery and safeguarding the investments that help our people succeed. Sequestration fails all of these tests.

"President Obama and Congressional Democrats have a plan that would avert sequestration with a balanced approach that includes carefully targeted spending cuts and an end to special tax loopholes, building on the $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction we have already achieved. By refusing to come to the table, or even to bring their own plan for a vote, Republicans are playing games with our economic recovery, and our homeland security, and are forcing children, seniors, veterans and middle-class families to bear the burden of deficit reduction alone.

"In North Carolina, sequestration would take more than a billion dollars out of our economy, at a time when we have just seen General Assembly Republicans pull nearly $800 million out of the economy by rejecting federal unemployment benefits for North Carolinians who have lost jobs through no fault of their own. We have a 9.2% unemployment rate in North Carolina, but Republicans at every level of government continue to show neither regard for those in need nor economic sense when it comes to investing in our state's future."

Sunday, the Obama Administration detailed the impact sequestration would have in North Carolina during this year alone, including:

* Department of Defense Civilian payroll in NC is $1.4 billion for 22,000 workers. A 22-day furlough will cost those workers and the state economy $117.5M in lost wages. Approximately 45% of DoD Civilian contractors are veterans.

* Teachers and Schools: North Carolina will lose approximately $25.4 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting around 350 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 38,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 80 fewer schools would receive funding.

* Education for Children with Disabilities: In addition, North Carolina will lose approximately $16.8 million in funds for about 200 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.

* Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 1,500 children

* Work-Study Jobs: Around 1,150 fewer low income students in North Carolina would receive did to help them finance the costs of college and around 890 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.

* Job Search Assistance to Help those in North Carolina find Employment and Training: North Carolina will lose about $83,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 15,110 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.

* Child Care: Up to 1,300 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 North Carolina around 3,550 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 $243,000.

* Public Health: North Carolina will lose approximately $911,000 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, North Carolina will lose about $1,980,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 3700 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services will lose about $341,000 resulting in around 8,500 fewer HIV tests.

* STOP Violence Against Women Program: North Carolina could lose up to $205,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 800 fewer victims being served.

* Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: North Carolina would lose approximately $1,543,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.

Sequestration and Homeland Security Programs

* FEMA will be forced to reduce funding for State and local grants that support firefighter positions and state and local emergency management personnel.

* US Coast Guard: USCG will be forced to curtail air and surface operations by up to 25%, significantly impairing safety, law enforcement and drug interdiction.

* Customs and Border Patrol: CBP may be forced to lay off 5,000 Border Patrol Agents and 2,700 CBP Officers, weakening our border security and significantly increasing wait times for people and goods entering the country legally.

* Aviation security: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would reduce its frontline workforce, which would substantially increase passenger wait times at airport security checkpoints. TSA would need to initiate a hiring freeze for all transportation security officer positions in March, eliminate overtime, and furlough its 50,000 officers for up to seven days. This means longer screening wait times for passengers.

* Federal Aviation Administration: FAA could be forced to furlough up to 10% of workforce on any given day. Fewer air traffic controllers mean longer flight delays.

Nationwide Impact of Sequestration

Emergency unemployment compensation: People receiving Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits would see their benefits cut by nearly 11 percent. Affected long-term unemployed individuals would lose an average of more than $450 in benefits that they and their families count on while they search for another job. Smaller unemployment checks will also have a negative impact on the economy as a whole. Economists have estimated that every dollar in unemployment benefits generates $2 in economic activity.

Social Security applicant and beneficiary services: The Social Security Administration (SSA) would be forced to curtail service to the public and reduce program oversight efforts designed to make sure benefits are paid accurately and to the right people. Potential effects on SSA operations could include a reduction in service hours to the public, and a substantial growth in the backlog of Social Security disability claims. Up to 20,000 retirement claims and 10,000 disability claims could go unprocessed.

NIH research: Sequestration cuts $1.6 billion from NIH. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would be forced to delay or halt vital scientific projects and make hundreds of fewer research awards. Since each research award supports up to seven research positions, several thousand personnel could lose their jobs. These cuts would delay progress on the prevention of debilitating chronic conditions that are costly to society and delay development of more effective treatments for common and rare diseases affecting millions of Americans.

NSF research: The National Science Foundation (NSF) would issue nearly 1,000 fewer research grants and awards, impacting an estimated 12,000 scientists and students and curtailing critical scientific research.

New drug approvals: The FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) would face delays in translating new science and technology into regulatory policy and decision-making, resulting in delays in new drug approvals. The FDA would likely also need to reduce operational support for meeting review performance goals, such as the recently negotiated user fee goals on new innovative prescription drugs and medical devices. Small business assistance: Small Business Administration (SBA) loan guarantees would be cut by up to approximately $900 million, constraining financing needed by small businesses to maintain and expand their operations and create jobs.

Food safety: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could conduct 2,100 fewer inspections at domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture food products while USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) may have to furlough all employees for approximately two weeks. These reductions could increase the number and severity of safety incidents, and the public could suffer more foodborne illness, such as the recent salmonella in peanut butter outbreak and the E. coli illnesses linked to organic spinach, as well as cost the food and agriculture sector millions of dollars in lost production volume.

Veterans services: Although the Department of Veterans Affairs is exempt from sequestration, the Department of Labor's Veterans Transition Assistance Program, which serves over 150,000 veterans a year, would have to reduce operations -- leaving thousands of transitioning veterans unserved as they move from active duty to civilian life. The Jobs for Veterans State Grants Program would also experience cuts, translating into a reduction in the capacity to serve tens of thousands of veterans in their efforts to find civilian employment.

National parks: Many of the 398 national parks across the country would be partially or fully closed, with shortened operating hours, closed facilities, reduced maintenance, and cuts to visitor services. These closures will hurt the many small businesses and regional economies that depend on nearby national parks to attract visitors to their region.

Title I education funds: Title I education funds would be eliminated for more than 2,700 schools, cutting support for nearly 1.2 million disadvantaged students. This funding reduction would put the jobs of approximately 10,000 teachers and aides at risk. Students would lose access to individual instruction, afterschool programs, and other interventions that help close achievement gaps.

Special education (IDEA): Cuts to special education funding would eliminate Federal support for more than 7,200 teachers, aides, and other staff who provide essential instruction and support to preschool and school-aged students with disabilities.

Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 70,000 children, reducing access to critical early education. Community and faith based organizations, small businesses, local governments, and school systems would have to lay off over 14,000 teachers, teacher assistants, and other staff.

Nutrition assistance for women, infants and children: Approximately 600,000 women and children would be dropped from the Department of Agriculture's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) from March through September. At least 1,600 State and local jobs could be lost as a result.

Rental assistance: The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher program, which provides rental assistance to very low-income families, would face a significant reduction in funding, which would place about 125,000 families at immediate risk of losing their permanent housing.

Homelessness programs: More than 100,000 formerly homeless people, including veterans, would be removed from their current housing and emergency shelter programs, putting them at risk of returning to the streets.

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