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Stuck Between a Boehner Rock and a Sequestration Hard Place

Speaker BoehnerIf you look up the word “sequestration” in the dictionary, you will see a picture of House Speaker John Boehner and his Republican Congress members smiling and the rest of America crying. Simply put, with the 113th GOP controlled Congress, sequestration means bad things will happen to middle class, people of color, poor people and everyone in between, if they don’t act soon.  Beginning March 1, there will be cuts across the board from the Pentagon to education and Head Start programs, unless action is taken to avoid it.

All cuts are not equal. A cut affecting Donald Trump will not be felt the same as one affecting a McDonald’s minimum wage worker or someone on unemployment.  People who have nothing to lose will be affected the least. And those with the most to lose will be affected the most.  Make no mistake, everyone will be affected. And our country will be at risk in more ways than just economically.

 

It’s as if the Republican Congress delights in the drama, chaos and derailing the American people.  Instead of working on a solution,   House Speaker Boehner gave Congress a week off.  For the average working American,  that’s like an employer rewarding and giving a vacation to employees at the same time that unfinished deadlines will result in the company’s further setbacks and decline.  That  just doesn’t seem to matter to Rep. Boehner.

There are many articles online that succinctly discuss the perils of sequestration—expected to occur on March 1 if nothing is done.    Here are a few examples of how sequestration cuts might affect your family.

According to a Think Progress report, loss of Title I funding may result in loss of:

  • 2700 schools
  • 9880 education staff
  • 70,000 children being taken off the  Head Start program
  • 30,000 teacher jobs
  • 1.2 million students will be affected
According to Adam Peck of Think Progress, all of these above cuts in funds will come from low income communities.

According to heads of federal agencies, there are other real consequences:

  • Housing vouchers, shelter programs, and rural rent assistance are also on the chopping block  which may result in 125,000 persons at risk of homelessness.
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also warned about “elimination of rental assistance for more than 10,000 very low income rural residents, generally elderly, disabled, and single female heads of households.
  • HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius warned in a Feb. 1 letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee: “Sequestration could compromise the health and well-being of more than 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and seriously emotionally disturbed children who potentially would not receive needed mental health services, which could result in increased hospitalizations and homelessness.  “In addition, we expect that 8,900 homeless persons with serious mental illness might not receive the vital outreach, treatment and housing, and supports that they need to help in their recovery process.
  • Social Security checks won’t stop because of sequestration—those payments are exempt from cuts—but Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue wrote on Feb. 7 that administrative cuts could mean the administration is slow to process disability claims and send money.
  • Increased risk of terrorism- The FBI’s ability to catch terrorists and stop plots will be mitigated, according to director Robert Mueller. The cuts include personnel furloughs and stalled investigations.”
  • Cuts to FEMA of over $1 billion would mean less relief for disaster victims,  Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano warned: “The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund would be reduced by over a billion dollars, with an impact on survivors recovering from future severe weather events, and affecting the economic recoveries of local economies in those regions.”
  • Sequestration “could impact the integrity of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program,” Labor Secretary Hilda Solis wrote, “For the long-term unemployed, more than 3.8 million people receiving Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits will see their benefits reduced by as much as 9.4 percent. Affected long-term unemployed individuals would lose an average of more than $400 in benefits.”
  • First Responders lay-offs   will occur as some first responders are funded with federal dollars.
  • The Department of Education would cut $725 Million from its Title I grant program for schools with large shares of low-income and special-needs kids, according to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. The program serves 23 million low-income and 6.5 special-needs students.
  • Even the FBI will furlough agents, according to Attorney General Eric Holder

 

It seems as if Republicans will stop at everything to prevent our country from moving forward. So they have us between a rock and a hard place—with nowhere to go, unless they move and take action.  President Obama cannot move us forward without some  action from Congress.

 

 

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