Friday, March 01, 2013
Cartwright: Sequestration Is No Game
Draconian. Irresponsible. Ridiculous. Indiscriminate.
These are just some of the words that the Lehigh Valley's other Congressman, Matt Cartwright, used to describe sequestration, an across-the-board, massive $1.2 trillion cut in federal spending scheduled to take effect today. As usual, Congress is playing what Lehigh County Exec candidate Tom Muller calls "cliffsmanship," and yet another Congressional crisis looms.
Cartwright delivered a moving and powerful speech from the House floor, wasting it on members who spend most of their time meeting with lobbyists and attending fundraisers. It meant nothing to them, but away from the beltway, his message resonates. He advocated "getting rid of it completely" if Congress is unable to come up with a compromise.
He likes sequestration to taking out a cancer "with a meat cleaver instead of a scalpel."
His district includes economically depressed Schuylkill County, where 38,000 of its 149,000 population subsist on social security payments. They will be delayed because of losses in manpower in those offices.
At the Tobyhanna Army Depot, where 5,400 civilian workers refurbish military electronics, there will be $309 million in cuts over the next ten years. Layoff notices will go out to them today. Cartwright noted these are "real people" who have to plan on how to feed their families and keep gas in the car. "It's cold comfort for them to hear this may not happen," he noted, especially when they're looking at a hard copy of a furlough notice.
Seventy thousand children will be kicked off Head Start, including 2,300 in Pa.
Emergency responders will lose jobs, which will affect us all.
"This isn't a game we're talking about," he argued. "Hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs."
I fully support a reduction in federal spending. But not indiscriminately, across the board. That is what will happen unless Congress acts, and the clock is ticking again.