By Ashley Bauman, DPVA
RICHMOND – This morning, President Obama discussed commonsense solutions to avoid the sequester and reduce our debt and deficit in a balanced manner. After the President’s press conference, Del. Charniele Herring, Democratic Party of Virginia Chair, released the following statement:
As President Obama said today, job number one for our representatives in Congress must be to grow the economy and create good middle class jobs. But if Republicans in Congress allow the sequester to happen, the drastic cuts will have a host of devastating effects on everything from the economy and military readiness to first responders, health care and education-just to name a few. Middle class families, children and seniors will bear the brunt of these harmful but completely avoidable cuts to vital government initiatives.
These deep, automatic spending cuts were meant to be so unattractive and unappealing that Congress would act to avoid them by passing a balanced plan to reduce the deficit. However, Republicans have repeatedly walked away from efforts to find a balanced approach, placing a higher priority on protecting tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthy and corporations than on getting our fiscal house in order and growing our economy in a smart and balanced way. If Republicans allow the sequester to take place it will diminish our military’s ability to respond to threats across the world and weaken our border security. These cuts will cause longer lines at airports and could threaten flu vaccinations and medical screenings. It’s wrong to ask the middle class and seniors to bear the burden of devastating budget cuts while protecting the interests of the wealthy. It’s wrong to lay off teachers and first responders to protect tax loopholes that allow some CEO’s to pay a lower effective tax rate than their secretaries. These cuts are unfair, they are not smart, and they will increase unemployment and hurt our economy.
And we can’t, as many Republicans profess we can, simply cut our way to prosperity by cutting Medicare benefits and asking our senior citizens to pay more or laying off teachers and first responders. Republicans face a choice: will they compromise to protect vital investments in education, health care and the military that benefit the middle class and keep us safe, or will they put the entire economy in jeopardy just to protect special interest tax loopholes that benefit only the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations. It’s time for Republicans to put our economy and middle class families first by supporting the Democrats’ balanced plan that pairs more spending cuts with tax reform that closes special interest loopholes and makes sure billionaires won’t pay a lower rate than other middle-class Americans.