WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, called today for immediate action to lift the debt ceiling and end across-the-board budget cuts.
"At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, let’s work together on a budget that is fair,” Sanders said during a Budget Committee hearing. “Let’s end sequestration. And, at the very least, I hope we can all agree right now that we will pay our bills on time and we will not allow the United States of America to become a deadbeat nation.”
Sanders asked the Congressional Budget Office in July to analyze the impact on job growth if the budget targets first put in place almost four years ago were eliminated. The caps were temporarily lifted for 2014 and 2015, but were reinstated at the beginning of this fiscal year on October 1. According to CBO, up to 800,000 fewer jobs will be created in 2016 if Congress doesn’t eliminate sequestration.
Compared to plans that reverse the budget caps, cuts would eliminate access to employment and training services for 2 million young Americans, dislocated workers and veterans; prevent 620 new community health centers from opening, reducing access to care for more than 2.6 million Americans; eliminate Head Start access for nearly 144,000 vulnerable children; deny comprehensive family planning and preventive health services to 430,000 people; and cut medical care for more than 20,000 veterans.
“The national debt is an issue that we are also concerned about. But where we disagree is how you address the deficit and the debt,” Sanders said to his Republican colleagues. “And, we feel strongly that from a moral perspective and an economic perspective, you do not balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor – the most vulnerable people in our society – and ask nothing from the wealthy and large, profitable corporations.”
Click here to read Sanders’ prepared remarks.