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Public Statements

Eliminate The Sequester

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, most of us came here to this place to serve the American people and to ensure that the most powerful law-making body answers the needs and the cries of those who cannot speak for themselves, and yet, as we languish in those values, they may be more on paper than they are in action.

I rise today to ask, maybe even plead, that this House puts on the floor H.R. 900, which is to eliminate the sequester from the Budget Reconciliation Act and to go to regular order because the people of the United States are hurting, and even more so, I would say that they are crying.

It's very easy for us to be able to say there is no impact; we see no impact. I hope for those who have been in their districts for the last 2 weeks that they will realize how inaccurate and untrue that is. In fact, it hurts me to see the pain in my constituents' faces and homes because of sequester--a reckless scheme to move Congress to act and it did not work.

Some will say whose fault it was, whose idea it was. We really don't care because right now there are people who have lost Head Start seats, whose parents have been told their children cannot come back to school anymore. Grown men crying--grown men crying because their little one cannot go back to a Head Start class, and they have nowhere else for them to go.

The WIC program that is so desperately needed for women, infants, and children--cut to the bone. This is a scheme that is long overdue for us to get rid of.

Food inspectors. Just recently, a food business was shut down in my district. The thought of it is horrible. Many of their products in our local grocery stores. If we had not had food inspectors from the FDA, which we probably won't have anytime soon because they're being slashed and eliminated, this product would still be on the market. $85 billion in cuts is too nondescript.

The Federal emergency management under Homeland Security, $1 billion being cut, which means those who are still suffering from Superstorm Sandy, many of whom are homeless, 40,000 are still in hotel rooms in New York, they won't be able to be helped.

Department of Transportation, $1.943 billion, and that means the New Starts, mobility, people waiting in line for light rail, jobs cut immediately. I spoke this weekend to FAA members, air traffic controllers. Don't think it's not being felt, and it will be felt more and more in the summer increase of travel because of $637 million in losses, and almost $500 million of that is jobs.

We are in trouble. $512 million cut from Customs and Border Patrol over the international ports of entry. We're talking about comprehensive immigration reform and border security. There's your border security--cutting the very personnel that are ensuring the security of America. That's wrong-headed, and it's time to stop now.

But it really pains my heart, if you will, to see the cuts to those innocent families with those children in Head Start, to see the cuts to workers who have done nothing other than to come to work every morning, those Federal workers, and the impact on contractors to the Department of Defense, work that is forward-thinking in dealing with technology, cut to the bone, slashing employees. We will see the surge of the economy going down.

This is not the fault of the administration. This is the inaction of us in the United States Congress, and I think it is immediately necessary for Speaker Boehner to put on the floor of the House for a full debate H.R. 900, eliminate the sequester, simple sentence, and go to regular order. Begin the process of the budget. Whether you like this budget or that budget, begin the appropriate process of appropriations, for if you don't think that we're going to have one of the darkest seasons forthcoming, you wait and see what $85 billion in reckless cuts means. It's a trickle-down effect. You cannot recoup. Jobs will not come back, and we were moving up, creating jobs.

Everybody wants to point the finger as to whose fault it is, and I believe it is something where we have to come together.

I want to finish on the note that medical research funded by the National Institutes is also being cut, and we were number one in medical research. The time is now. Get rid of the sequester and help the American people.

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