Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.
The deadline for action to replace the Sequester has come and gone. A self-inflicted wound, the Sequester requires $85 billion in budget cuts this year and $1.2 trillion over the next decade. These blanket cuts are the latest in a series of moves to reach a more sustainable Federal budget. The cuts come on top of $1.7 trillion in 2011 cuts and $600 billion in revenue from the conclusion of the Bush tax cuts on high income earners.
The effects of the Sequester meat-cleaver have been documented elsewhere. There are huge cuts in everything that the Federal Government does, including border security, military readiness, the FBI, research and development, Head Start, air traffic control, NASA, education, etc., etc. etc.
Jim Sensenbrenner is partially responsible for the budget woes that led to the Sequester in the first place. He was in office when the US went from the Clinton budget surpluses to record deficits. He voted for unprecedented Bush tax cuts (2001 and 2003) and two unfunded wars. His party implemented a too-expensive prescription drug plan. However, he now poses as a deficit hawk.
Despite doing nothing constructive to solve the Sequester impasse, Sensenbrenner expresses outrage that the Sequester is actually happening. That cutting $85 billion in one year is actually visibly affecting Federal programs. According to his Sykes whinefest, he is angry that in order to save money, the USS Harry S Truman carrier task force group will not deploy to the Persian Gulf. He is irate about the cost cutting measure of a pre-trial supervised release of some undocumented workers by the INS.
Baldwin is a supporter of a balanced Senate Bill to replace the Sequester. The plan, called the American Family Economic Protection Act , identifies $120 billion of savings, split evenly between budget cuts and closing tax loopholes. The targeted cuts do not jeopardize the economic recovery or our future. The bill was introduced on February 26. It had the support of a majority of Senators. However, it did not have the 60 vote super-majority required to end a Republican filibuster, and could not go for a Senate floor vote.
Tammy Baldwin is the one of our legislative officials most willing to work for a compromise on the Sequester. She feels that everything should be on the table to solve the crisis-domestic spending, defense spending, and increased revenue through elimination of tax breaks.