While House Republicans aren’t taking any action to stop the sequester’s reckless, across-the-board cuts, its impact continues to spread. With just two legislative weeks left until the August district work period – and only two full legislative weeks in September – time is short for action. Here’s a quick look at some of the articles from this weekend covering the avoidable impact of the sequester:
“The furloughs have hit about 650,000 civilian employees but also have slowed health care and other services for the uniformed military, which has stopped some training missions and faces equipment shortages due to the budget shortfalls. Troops were told this month they will no longer receive extra pay for deployments to 18 former global hot spots no longer considered danger zones.”
“In Head Start, about 23,000 Latino children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, a third of the total, have been dropped from the program because of the budget reductions, according to estimates based on federal data. Latinos are also heavily affected by cuts in money for public schools that teach poor children and those learning English as a second language.”
“In Denver, the Mi Casa Resource Center is losing 10 percent of its federal funding. The organization helps Latinos, primarily women, start or expand businesses. Last year, it assisted 650 businesses, from food trucks to cleaning services, that generated $10 million in overall revenue, Executive Director Christine Marquez-Hudson said. The cuts mean turning away people who are trying to become self-sufficient, she said.”
“Matt Barreto, a Latino-politics expert at the University of Washington, said that ‘almost everyone saying the sequester didn’t seem so bad is an upper-middle-class, professional, college-educated white person.’”
“The public defender system hasn't just been stripped bare by sequestration, its bones have been chiseled away as well. There has been a 9 percent reduction in the roughly $1 billion budget for federal public defender's offices, while federal defenders in more than 20 states are planning to close offices. Careers have been ended and cases have been delayed. All of it has occurred in the name of deficit reduction -- and yet, for all the belt-tightening being demanded of the nation's public defenders, money is not actually being saved.”
“Federal furloughs caused by sequestration could ground ‘Hurricane Hunter’ aircraft, depriving forecasters of real-time measurements of storms during what's expected to be an especially active Atlantic hurricane season.”
Our military, children, middle-class families, and natural disaster preparedness are all threatened by sequestration’s drastic cuts. Instead of waiting for the next devastating headline, it’s time for Speaker Boehner to appoint budget conferees so that House and Senate negotiators can reach an agreement on a balanced compromise that replaces the sequester.