Progressive Caucus Leaders Introduce Measure to Replace Sequester and Create Jobs


February 5, 2012


WASHINGTON — Ten members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, led by Co-Chairs Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), introduced The Balancing Act this afternoon, which cancels the across the board “sequester” budget cuts, achieves a fair and balanced approach to long-term deficit reduction and creates 1 million jobs all over the country. Since 2011, budget deals in Washington have let wealthy corporations and the Pentagon off the hook while cutting more than $1.7 trillion from programs America’s working families need to survive. The Balancing Act brings relief to working Americans by making sure the Pentagon and the nation’s biggest corporations pitch in and do their part to get our economy working again.

“Almost $2 trillion has been cut over the past two years from teachers, firefighters, police officers, loans for college students, and infrastructure investments,” Rep. Ellison said. “The American people shouldn’t continue to pay the price for massive tax breaks for millionaires and billions of dollars in subsidies to oil companies.”

“If one-to-one is really our goal, why don’t we make the entire budget and investment process one-to-one instead of restricting it to this current round?” Rep. Grijalva said. “We’ve cut non-defense budgets to the bone. There are simply no major savings hiding in school lunch or nurse training programs. We need investments. The Beltway refusal to make job creation our number one priority is a scandal, and the Balancing Act is the right way to fix it.”

The Balancing Act has two major components. It eliminates the impending “sequester” cuts and replaces them with an equal amount of revenue by closing corporate and individual tax loopholes. This creates the equal overall cuts-to-revenue balance when looking at the budget beginning in 2011, when the Budget Control Act was passed. The bill also cuts approximately $300 billion from wasteful Pentagon spending and reinvests the money in job creation. The bill is expected to create more than 1 million jobs by investing in infrastructure, teachers, and putting money in consumers’ pockets

Congress cannot continue to write blank checks to underwrite wasteful Pentagon spending, especially at the expense of putting people back to work and investing in our crumbling infrastructure and struggling schools,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said. “We must bring an end to waste, fraud, and abuse at the Pentagon, and The Balancing Act is an important step in keeping the wasteful spending in check.” 

“Sequestration was never intended to be good fiscal policy. It was never intended to be policy, period,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) said. “The Balancing Act provides a reasonable alternative to the draconian sequester cuts hanging over the American people. By reducing our deficit responsibly while creating jobs and investing in our future, it asks everyone to give a little, while ensuring no one has to give a lot. This measured proposal ensures that programs benefiting countless Americans do not suffer disproportionately to protect our bloated defense budget.”

“The Balancing Act is designed to prevent the catastrophic results of sequestration while instituting a healthy long-term balance between cuts and revenues,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY).  “The simple truth is that – from seniors and kids, to small businesses and the military, to our still recovering economy – sequestration hurts a lot more than it helps.  Its effect would be devastating to our economy and would eliminate thousands of critical jobs in the midst of a recession.  And what makes it worse is that it is all unnecessary.  That’s why it is imperative that we stop the misguided and self-made disaster that sequestration, or equivalent spending cuts, will bring.”

“It is time to eliminate the damaging sequester cuts and ensure that we can reduce our long-term deficit in a fair and balanced way.” Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) said. “Balance means that in addition to smart spending cuts and raising revenue, we need to put people back to work. The Balancing Act would close tax loopholes for wealthiest individuals and corporations and would create 1 million jobs by investing in infrastructure and keeping teachers in the classroom.” 

“Every American family knows you don’t use your children’s lunch money to pay down credit cards,” Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) said. “This bill is different from the Republican approach—it asks everyone to do their fair share, grows jobs and keeps our promise to children, the elderly, and the poor.”

“With a combination of budget cuts and revenue increases, the Balancing Act will protect American families from the worst effects of sequestration, reduce the long-term budget deficit, and create more than one million jobs,” Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) said. “We need to protect the programs – from Medicaid to veterans’ benefits to federal aid for education – on which every member of our civil society depends, and continue our investments in education and infrastructure.”

An Executive Summary of the bill is attached. 


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