BURLINGTON, Aug. 11 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, called for the end of budget sequestration after the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projected enormous job losses for American workers if the arbitrary spending caps take effect as scheduled.
“These arbitrary sequestration caps have never made any sense, and now we see even more clearly the implications for our workers,” Sanders said. “If Congress does not act to end sequestration, we’re looking at the loss of as many as 1.4 million jobs over the next two years.”
Sanders asked CBO last month to analyze the impact on job growth if the budget targets first put in place almost four years ago were eliminated. The sequestration budget caps were first established in the Budget Control Act of 2011. The caps were temporarily lifted for 2014 and 2015, but will be reinstated at the end of this fiscal year, on October 1. According to CBO, maintaining the caps would lead to the loss of up to 800,000 jobs in 2016 and up to 600,000 jobs in 2017.
Maintaining the mindless sequestration spending caps for fiscal year 2016 alone would hurt the most vulnerable Americans, including children living in poverty, veterans in need of medical care and families in need of affordable housing.
Unless Congress acts, the budget caps would lead to more cuts, which would eliminate access to employment and training services for 1.4 million youth, 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 13,000 vulnerable children; deny comprehensive family planning and preventive health services to 430,000 people; reduce access to Community Learning Centers for 175,000 low-income students; cut the Veterans Health Administration by the amount necessary to provide medical care for more than 20,000 veterans; and prevent the production of approximately 40,000 affordable housing units. Keeping the sequestration spending caps will also cut billions of dollars from being used to fix our crumbling infrastructure and create much-needed jobs.
“At a time when more than 10 percent of workers are either unemployed or underemployed, we should be doing everything we can to create jobs,” Sanders said. “We must end sequestration now ahead of the end of the fiscal year and prevent a budget showdown that will help nobody. It makes no sense to head towards a crisis when we have a clear path towards a better solution.”
To read CBO’s letter to Sanders, click here.
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