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May 4, 2015

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Time to find a solution to stop the budget ‘meat-ax’

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Washington is all aghast about the automatic spending cuts known in our nation’s capital as the “sequester.” As House Speaker John Boehner recently described it, the sequester is “like taking a meat-ax to our government and its many programs, and will mean weakening our national defense.” Yet, despite this reality, House Republican leadership recessed Congress this month for a nine-day break without considering all alternatives to avert the impending crisis by the March 1 deadline.

While I always enjoy meeting with my constituents, Congress should have been in session. We should be working together to find a balanced approach to offset these devastating cuts.

The independent and nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that sequestration would cut economic growth in 2013 by half and cause potentially 750,000 to 1.4 million job losses nationally. Another study by George Mason University projects a loss of 2.14 million American jobs if sequestration takes effect. The analysis shows that “nearly half of all sequestration job losses would come from small businesses.”

These drastic, indiscriminate, across-the-board, cuts will damage our fragile economy and jeopardize the safety and security of families across the country. But what does it really mean for a state like Nevada? Over the last week I have met with constituents including teachers, seniors, business owners and medical providers to understand how these cuts would affect them. Consider these impacts:

• More than 1,400 furloughs to civilian jobs at Nellis and Creech Air Force bases, resulting in $11 million in lost wages.

• A 10 percent decrease in funding to Nevada Title I schools, nearly $9 million. Additionally, the state’s budget for special education grants would be slashed by $4 million.

• Upwards of 10,000 jobs lost at a time when too many Nevadans are already looking for work.

• A decrease in tourism, an engine of our local economy, because of fewer available airport personnel.

• Less funding for our colleges and universities, which hampers our ability to diversify our economy by jeopardizing $16 million in grant funding.

To date, Senate and House Democrats have offered fair, balanced plans to avert these damaging cuts. These proposals are built on responsible spending cuts, increased revenues, and growth with jobs.

Constituents have told me loud and clear that it is time for Congress to come together and work across party lines to solve these problems. We need a balanced plan.

According to a new USA Today/Pew Research Poll, the American people agree that Congress needs to come back to Washington with a solution to the sequester. In fact, 3 out of 4 Americans surveyed said Congress should focus on a balanced approach to the deficit with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.

With every passing day, thousands of jobs are at risk, the security of middle class families hangs in the balance, and the safety of neighborhoods across the state of Nevada are in jeopardy. Our nation’s economy cannot afford any further uncertainty, obstruction and delay. Too much is at stake.

Rep. Steven Horsford represents Nevada’s 4th Congressional District.

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  1. While I agree with the jist of Rep Horsford, I am not sympathetic with the President and/or Congress. After the Supercommittee in August 2011 failed with the President to come up with a grand bargain to the debt/deficit/tax revenue problems, the President and his advisors, one being Jack Lew the President's choice for US Treasury Secretary, pushed for and got Sequestration. It's the Law. Now, live with it.


  2. The whole idea that the sequester is a problem should be laughable to most people. It is a problem only because politicians want it to be a problem as a way to convince people that they need to be given more of OUR money. Almost every year there are reports that show the waste in the federal government and a couple of years ago one showed that the government could save over 250 billion a year. This would be done by eliminating outdated programs, eliminating duplication and streamlining other things without impacting services provided by government. But rather than actually do these things, our government practices brinksmanship with the budget. And these things were well learned in the budget battles of the 1990s. The government figured out that you win by making sure any cuts have maximum negative impact so that people will quickly move to reverse them. Rather than being outraged at the cuts, we should be direct our anger at those attempting to manipulate us. Perhaps one of these times we may do that.

  3. Government needs to shrink substantially at the federal and state levels. The cradle to grave approach didn't work. We are in serious trouble.

  4. The secastration if implemented is not enough to cause any harm to the working people of the United States and it would be better if they would increase it to Times 4.

  5. Sometimes I wonder at the chutzpah of our elected officials. Today Rep. Horsford writes that "It's time to find a solution" to the sequestration. Really? Now? Sequestration has been the law for a year and a half! Where's everybody been and what the heck have they been doing?

    To be fair to Rep. Horsford, he's only been in Congress for about a month. He does show, however, a great abilty to parrot back the administrations dire warnings about what will happen if the hellacious sequestration takes affect. You can read all the effects from the Washington Post at:

    But I ask again - if this is all so bad, what's everyone been doing for the last year and a half?

    I keep hearing too about how "government is broken", especially Congress. Is it a surprise that broken government has coincided with the Obama administration?

    Fiscal cliff. Debt limit. Sequestration. Continuing resolution or government shutdown. No Federal budget for four years. These are the past and future fights we can expect for the next four years of this administration. Perhaps, Rep. Horsford, you can go beyond your party's talking points and work to accomplish something?

    Peggy Noonan turned a nice phrase today. She wrote in the Wall Street Journal "It is always cliffs, ceilings and looming catastrophes with Barack Obama. It is always government by freakout."

    And in the meantime the average person has heard enough, and has to conclude that either there is no solution, or no solution can be achieved by this government. It's not a confidence building attitude we're getting from our elected officials.

    And with three days to go our 4th Congressional District representative says it's time to get going. I'm underwhelmed.