Sequester: For NJ Republican Congressmen Dogma Trumps Devastation

Our “Do Nothing” Republican congressmen are of no help in resolving the looming federal sequestration. They all merit a phone call, tweet, e-mail or letter to urge them to resume negotiations which include revenue enhancements.

The federal sequestration law was designed to encourage budgetary compromise. It imposed such devastating cuts if compromise was not achieved that most thought it would never be implemented. Well there has been no compromise. President Obama insists that any plan should include revenue enhancements such as higher tax for the wealthiest and a reduction of tax loopholes for corporations. Tea Party and fiscal hawk Republicans refuse to consider revenue enhancements and insist on only steep cuts in spending.

If there is no compromise by the end of February the federal government will have to start trimming $85 billion between March and September. The Office of Management and the Budget projects that sequestration would cut economic growth in 2013 by half. New Jersey Citizen Action said the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected more than 43,000 job losses in the Garden State alone in 2013. This Star Ledger article  documents some of the doomsday effects on our state.

Below are comments gleaned from five Republican congressmen.  

  •  Scott Garrett (CD 5) bluntly on Facebook says: “If [President Obama] won’t drop his tax increase and negotiate in good faith, as he hasn’t during his Presidency, then the sequester is the only way that any spending is going to be cut.”

  • Leonard Lance (CD 7) on his website says, “Contact the President , Vice President and others to avoid the devastating impact of sequestration.”

  • Chris Smith (CD 4) in a news release says, “Obama totally fails to reduce spending” and likewise places the onus on the President.

  • Frank LoBiondo (CD 2) on Twitter expresses concern about “impacts on FAA and Coast Guard” but not about negotiations.

  • Jon Runyan (CD 3) on NJ Today spoke with more concern than other colleagues indicating he fears sequester would severely harm South Jersey, but he does not veer from the Republican position. He said, “There’s still time to avoid the automatic cuts… He takes particular aim at President Obama …  and adds that South Jersey may be especially impacted given that it is so “defense heavy.”

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