Congressmember Alan Lowenthal on Feb. 28 made an eleventh-hour plea for a bipartisan and balanced solution to the impending across-the-board federal budget cuts set to go into effect on March 1. Known as the sequester, the potentially devastating cuts will impact nearly every American state, region and city.
“Unless we do something, Friday will be the day none of us wanted to see, but one that very few of us in Congress seem to have the courage or conviction to prevent,” Congressman Lowenthal said Thursday on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. “Today, we face two options: devastating, meat-cleaver cuts, or political courage. I choose political courage. We must come together to do what we were sent here to do. I’m calling for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that eliminates sequestration.”
In calling for a balanced solution that includes new revenue and responsible cuts, Lowenthal offered his support for Congressman Chris Van Hollen’s H.R. 699 and urged that the bill be brought to the floor for a vote. Van Hollen’s bill, the third such alternative to the sequester offered by House Democrats, would replace the sequester with a balanced mix of cuts and revenue generated by closing tax loopholes and tax preferences that benefit the very wealthy.
The March 1 sequester deadline will trigger automatic cuts to agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP). These cuts could lead to worker furloughs at these agencies and slowdowns in commuter transit at border check points, points of entry and airports such as Long Beach Airport.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has estimated that Title I education funds, roughly 14.5% of California schools’ revenue stream, would be cut by $750 million. According to the California Superintendent of Schools, the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) and Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) will endure $7,581,658 and $2,618,581 in federal funding cuts, respectively.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) will also be affected by sequestration– facing up to $900 million in cuts to loan guarantees to small businesses.
On Feb. 15, 2013 Lowenthal and 21 of his colleagues in Congress co-signed an open letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, urging him to delay the congressional recess in order to reach a bipartisan agreement on the issue of sequestration, though Republican House members have been reluctant to commit to taking action before March 1.
Source: Lowenthal’s office