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Public Statements

Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. JACKSON LEE. This is a hostage-taking, and I know that the American people are watching the blame game. But the blame game falls clearly on this side of the aisle. My Republican friends held this place hostage: we won't pay the debt ceiling; we won't pay our debts.

Now we're losing 2 million jobs, 4,800 Head Start programs. And I believe in air traffic controllers, but we're holding them hostage. What about the person who cannot afford an airline ticket? And so I'm saying today that it is important that we stand for the millions of dollars that we are losing for homeland security. Is it time to take millions from military families?

Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to bring up H.R. 900, a one-sentence bill, that would repeal the section of the Budget Control Act of 2011 to get rid of the sequester, go to budget conference, have conferees, have a budget, get rid of the sequester. Bring it up now.

Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to bring up H.R. 900.


Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, let me just say this. We have to save the traveling public, but I ask the question about 5,000 children in Texas that will lose Head Start, or the millions of seniors, or our military families that will lose support because we've got the sequester, all on the shoulders of those that believe that the way we run the Federal Government is by slash and burn. Where are our hearts? Help the American people.


Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, H.R. 1765 is a poor substitute for real Congressional leadership and pragmatic solutions for the millions of Americans impacted by the sequester. Using sequestration, Republicans in the House are holding the American public hostage, extracting carve-outs that serve their own interests while shamefully ignoring the people who will be impacted by the billions in remaining cuts.

While I support putting all of our air traffic controllers back on the job so that air transit is as safe and reliable as possible, this bill leaves everyone else to suffer the devastating consequences of the sequester cuts. Sequestration unduly constrains the ability of Congress to deal effectively with America's economic, fiscal, and job creation troubles. I support restoring funding for our air traffic control officers, but this bill does nothing to relieve the anguish of those Americans who cannot afford to buy an airline ticket.

As a Senior Member of the House Homeland Security Committee I find it outrageous that in Texas, approximately 52,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed. The sequester, which the Republicans did nothing to prevent, would undermine the significant progress the Department of Homeland Security has made over the past ten years and would negatively affect our ability to carry out their vital mission.

Sequestration will eventually roll back border security, increase wait times at our Nation's land ports of entry and airports, affect aviation and maritime safety and security, leave critical infrastructure vulnerable to attacks, hamper disaster response time and significantly scale back cyber security infrastructure protections that have been developed in recent years.

Republicans forced Congress to adopt sequestration as a backstop by playing a political game of chicken when it came to raising the debt ceiling to pay our debts. While we understand and share the concern of our Republican colleagues with respect to deficit spending, now is not the time to put ideology over pragmatism, and the arbitrary cuts imposed by the sequester are not the answer.

Instead of forcing the average American to pay the price for a dysfunctional Washington, give the leaders of both parties the time needed to reach some consensus on budget issues.

Republicans, particularly Members of the Tea Party, need to understand that allowing the sequester to continue is worst way to go about achieving a long-term debt reduction. Cutting two million jobs nationwide and slowing the growth of our gross domestic product by half a percent will barely make a dent in our debt, but it will result in widespread misery.

Moreover, it jeopardizes the economic progress that we have worked hard to achieve, and even threatens to throw us back into a recession. My state of Texas is greatly affected by sequestration. These cuts will have a devastating and widespread impact on local communities.

Texas will lose approximately $67.8 million for primary and secondary education, putting around 930 teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition, about 172,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 280 fewer schools would receive funding.

Texas will lose approximately $51 million for about 620 teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.

Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 4,800 children in Texas, reducing access to critical early education.

In Texas, approximately 52,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $274.8 million in total.

Texas will lose about $1,103,000 in Justice Assistance Grants that support law enforcement, prosecution and courts, crime prevention and education, corrections and community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

Around 83,750 fewer Texans will get the help and skills they need to find employment as Texas will lose about $2,263,000 for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning.

Up to 2,300 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.

In Texas around 9,730 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.

Violence Against Women Grants: Texas could lose up to $543,000 to provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 2,100 fewer victims being served.

Texas will lose approximately $2,402,000 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, Texas will lose about $6,750,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 2,800 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Texas State Department of Public Health will lose about $1,146,000 resulting un around 28,600 fewer HIV tests.

Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that H.R. 900, the "Cancel the Sequester Act of 2013'' be brought to the floor for a vote.

This one-sentence bill would end this national nightmare by repealing the section of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that imposed sequestration and its senseless, job-destroying cuts. If Congress cannot or will not come together in bipartisan agreement on a budget, I believe we have a duty to avert these catastrophic cuts by repealing them.


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