House Democrats Say GOP To Blame For Sequester

"Since the new Congress began, they have not put forward one proposal to prevent the across-the-board sequester," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) of the GOP.

By Stephanie Dingbaum

The House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee held a hearing Thursday in which a panel of experts spoke about the negative impacts of the looming sequester, which will take effect on March 1. The spending cuts, they said, will mainly impact lower income families.

“This is a self-inflicted crisis that should end today,” said Committee co-chairman Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.).

Though they’re the minority party in the House, the Democrats held the hearing to bash Republicans for being out of session this week as the countdown to the sequester trudges on.

Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D. professor of public policy from George Mason University, told lawmakers that the $1 trillion in cuts spread out over the next decade would cause the economy to shed 2.1 million jobs and cause the unemployment rate to rise by 1.5 percent. Marion C. Blakey, President and CEO of Aerospace Industries Association of America, bemoaned the impact the cuts would have on her field, which is the nation’s largest net exporter.

The White House and Democrats have also argued that schools and hospitals will suffer significant funding cuts. Megan Allen, a fifth grade teacher from Tampa, FL and Florida’s 2010 teacher of the year, described the devastating affect these cuts will have on education, particularly those students from low income families or who have disabilities. Meanwhile, Mary C. Selecky from the Washington State Department of Health and Science explained the impacts the cuts will have on health care services.  ”This is really about negative health outcomes,” she said.

Andrews bashed House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for ruling out tax revenue as part of a solution to replace the sequester. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) called on congressional Republicans to do their job instead of avoiding the situation. “Since the new Congress began, they have not put forward one proposal to prevent the across-the-board sequester.”

Republicans passed two bills last year to replace the sequester, but neither measure was considered by the Democratically-controlled Senate.

Geoff Holtzman contributed to this report.

Tags: , ,

About TRNS Washington Desk

View all posts by TRNS Washington Desk
TRNS Washington Desk
News updates from on and around Capitol Hill.

By Leah Schwarting (TRNS) – Assistant Secretary Nisha Desai Biswal of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs pledged [...]

LISTEN: The Weekend Ahead – December 20-22, 2014

The Day Ahead Logo

New E.U. sanctions against Crimea go into effect, Liberia holds elections and President Obama hits the Sunday morning talk show circuit.

LISTEN: The World in 2:00 – December 19, 2014

The World in 2:00 continents logo

President Obama disagrees with Sony’s decision to scrap release of “The Interview,” and Ban Ki-moon surveys Ebola-affected West Africa.

Obama: Benefits Of Keystone Would Be Minimal

Obama

“There is very little impact, nominal impact, on U.S. gas prices, what the average American consumer cares about,” Obama said.

Pentagon: Hagel Briefed Friday On Army’s Report On Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

Bergdahl, who was held in Afghanistan for five years as prisoner of a pro-Taliban group, was released in a prisoner exchange with five Taliban commanders previously held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in May.

Obama: Sony ‘Made A Mistake’ In Pulling Controversial Film

Obama

“We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can impose censorship here in the United States,” Obama said.