Pocan Urges House Leadership to Bring Congress Back in Session to Avert Sequester
WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) today urged the House Republican leadership to bring Congress back in session to work on a balanced solution to avert the sequester. House leadership ended the work week yesterday afternoon without taking action on the $85 billion in indiscriminate, across-the-board spending cuts that the government will begin to initiate today.
“Sequestration is at our door step, and yet the House floor is empty. It represents a dereliction of duty for the House Republican leadership to allow members to leave when hundreds of thousands of jobs are on the line and the economic security for middle class families is at risk.
“All throughout the past few weeks, I’ve heard from my constituents and local business owners about furlough notices and potential closings due to these devastating cuts. Anyone who says the sequester won’t harm our families in Wisconsin and hurt our country’s economic growth is living with their heads in the sand.
“I urge the House leadership to bring us back into session. I am ready and prepared to work with my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, as long as it takes, so we can avoid this unnecessary and irresponsible budget tornado as soon as possible.”
According to a report released by the White House earlier this week, Wisconsin communities would face the below consequences if the automatic spending cuts are not stopped and replaced:
- Teachers and Schools: Wisconsin will lose approximately $8.5 million in funding for primary and secondary education. In addition about 10,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 50 fewer schools would receive funding.
- Education for Children with Disabilities: Wisconsin will lose approximately $10.1 million in funds for teachers, aides, and staff who help children with disabilities.
- Work-Study Jobs: Around 550 fewer low income students in Wisconsin would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 420 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.
- Head Start: Head Start and Early Head Start services would be eliminated for approximately 900 children in Wisconsin, reducing access to critical early education.
- Protections for Clean Air and Clean Water: Wisconsin would lose about $3,875,000 in environmental funding to ensure clean water and air quality, as well as prevent pollution from pesticides and hazardous waste. In addition, Wisconsin could lose another $1,479,000 in grants for fish and wildlife protection.
- Military Readiness: In Wisconsin, approximately 3,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $12.4 million in total. Army: Base operation funding would be cut by about $1 million in Wisconsin.
- Job Search Assistance to Help those in Wisconsin find Employment and Training: Wisconsin will lose about $661,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 23,120 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.
- Child Care: Up to 500 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.
- Vaccines for Children: In Wisconsin around 2,540 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $173,000.
- Public Health: Wisconsin will lose approximately $543,000 in funds to help upgrade its ability to respond to public health threats including infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events. In addition, Wisconsin will lose about $1,390,000 in grants to help prevent and treat substance abuse, resulting in around 2,600 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs. And the Wisconsin Department of Health Services will lose about $108,000 resulting in around 2,700 fewer HIV tests.
- STOP Violence Against Women Program: Wisconsin could lose up to $120,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 500 fewer victims being served.
- Nutrition Assistance for Seniors: Wisconsin would lose approximately $653,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors.