INTERNATIONAL TYLER GROUP - Dems, experts warn of economic and social fallout of sequester by cassfolks


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									  Dems, experts warn of
economic and social fallout
      of sequester

 international tyler group
House Democrats on Thursday recruited experts in the defense, education and
healthcare sectors to press their case for preventing the sequester cuts scheduled to hit
next week.
At a gathering of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on Capitol Hill, the
lawmakers heard from a variety of voices warning that the automatic cuts would not only
kill jobs, but also devastate low-income families that benefit from education, public
health and other federally funded programs.
The event was designed to put a face on the obtuse issue of deficit reduction and to
pressure GOP leaders to cut short their recess and vote on legislation preventing the
sequester cuts from taking effect March 1.
"My students live in poverty and have special needs that federal funding helps," said
Megan Allen, an elementary school teacher in Tampa, Fla., and Florida's 2010 Teacher of
the Year. "The looming cuts threaten all of this."
Mary Selecky, secretary of the Washington state Department of Health, said the poorest
and sickest people in the state would also be the hardest hit by the blunt cuts.
"This is really about negative health outcomes," she said.
And Marion Blakey, head of the Aerospace Industries Association, piled on, warning that
the cuts would cause "great, and in some cases, very permanent harm" to both the
economy and national security.
The hearing — a one-sided affair in which no Republicans participated — is the latest
salvo in the increasingly bitter partisan battle over who should be blamed if the
sequester cuts take effect, which seems ever more likely with each passing day.
Although President Obama has used his bully pulpit this week to travel around the
country warning of the sequester's harmful effects, GOP leaders in both the House and
Senate say they're willing to let those cuts take hold rather than accept Democratic
demands that tax hikes be a part of an alternative deficit-reduction package.

They are gambling that Obama and the Democrats will bear the blame for the estimated
hundreds of thousands of jobs that would be lost if the $85 billion cut takes effect.

"The revenue debate is now closed,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement
this week.

Obama on Thursday called both Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-
Ky.) to try to break the impasse, but if the reaction from Boehner's office was any
indication, the gesture had little effect.

"If he wants to avert the sequester, shouldn’t the President be focused on the House of
Congress that HASN’T acted, and where his own political party holds the majority?"
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in an email.

Boehner and the Republicans have repeatedly pointed to two bills they passed through
the House last year that would have averted the sequester's defense cuts, largely by
cutting deeper into other domestic programs. However, those bills expired with the end
of the 112th Congress, and GOP leaders have not brought them up again this year, which
hasn't been overlooked by Democrats.
"Since the new Congress began, they have not put forward one
proposal to prevent the across-the-board sequester," Rep. Chris Van
Hollen (Md.), senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said
during the Steering Committee gathering Thursday.

With public opinion polling in their favor, Democrats feel they have
the upper hand. Still, they're also hamstrung to move on their own
because Republicans control the House, and proposals that raise
revenue must originate in the lower chamber.

That's left Democratic leaders with few options outside of attacking
Republicans for inaction and hoping public pressure forces GOP
leaders to rethink their strategy.

"Eight days from now a tremor will hit the American economy that is
both unwelcome and unnecessary," Rep. Robert Andrews (N.J.), who
heads the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, said Thursday.
"This is a self-inflicted crisis that should end today."

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