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Sequestration’s Impact on Washington County

"This sequester is a folly, it is shameful, and it is a man-made mess that is completely and wholly reversible," U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum said. "This Congress acts likes it has the luxury of governing this great country with gimmicks

Washington, D.C., may be the hub of the federal workforce, but Minnesota has tens of thousands of federal employees and retirees who could be hurt by the looming sequestration crisis.

If the president and Congress can’t strike a deal by Friday, a series of mandated federal budget cuts would automatically kick in. That would force more than a million federal employees to take unpaid leave, according to the Washington Post.

Minnesota, alone, has about 59,000 federal employees and retirees.

Washington County accounts for 1,779 of that total, or about 3 percent. Most of those are Department of Labor and Postal Service employees. (Use the table above to see how many federal employees and retirees Minnesota’s counties have.)

McCollum Reaction

The following are prepared remarks from U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, who represents Woodbury in the 4th Congressional District, to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense regarding the Department of Defense's fiscal challenges. She serves on the House Appropriations Committee.

"Let me start with a quote from President John Kennedy who said, 'Our problems are man-made, therefore they can be solved by man.'

This sequester is a folly, it is shameful, and it is a man-made mess that is completely and wholly reversible.

Gentleman, I absolutely believe your dire predictions of the consequences of sequestration on military readiness, capabilities, and our overall national security. 

We are shooting ourselves in the foot.

Responsible leaders would put spending, revenues, and tax expenditures on the table and come up with a compromise that protects the American people because this government provides services and protections for every American.

I voted against the Budget Control Act because I am strongly opposed to the idea of passing bad laws in the foolish hope they never take effect.

For some reason this Congress acts likes it has the luxury of governing this great country with gimmicks and game playing.

We do not have that luxury.

When I came to Congress in 2001 the Pentagon’s budget was $310 billion and the federal government was projected to have a 10-year budget surplus of over $5 trillion.

Since then the Pentagon’s budget has doubled and trillions of dollars of spending on wars, tax cuts, and programs has been put on a credit card.

For much of the past decade brave Americans in uniform have been serving and fighting in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Over a trillion dollars have been spent on the wars and not one penny of additional tax revenue was raised by Congress to pay for those wars. 

To fight these wars, absolute and total sacrifice was demanded from the military leaders here today, the men and women in your commands, and all of your families. You all delivered for us with honor. 

But the rest of the American people have been asked to sacrifice nothing, to contribute nothing extra.

Now we see this Congress doing nothing but watching as education, public health, infrastructure investments, and military readiness are gutted.

But again, taxes are off the table according to my Republican colleagues—even if it results in making our nation less secure, less protected.

As Americans, we need to pay for the government we want.

We need to pay for a strong military and for the privilege of living in a free, democratic nation. 

And, if that means paying higher taxes then I am willing to pay higher taxes rather than kick kids out of Head Start and kick poor moms off of WIC.

Gentleman, while the military personnel account is protected from sequestration it would appear that important services supporting military families are not protected.

What effect will sequestration have on military families—the spouses, children, and the quality of life of those loved ones who support the war fighter?

For example, is it accurate that cuts to child development centers and impact aid cuts to military schools will directly hit the children of service men and women?

Finally, what do you believe will be the impact of retaining our best and brightest members of the military when this fiscal mess makes their jobs more difficult and undermines the well-being of their families—especially their children?"

 

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Scott H February 27, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Hey Betty, the sequester was the President's because of his inabilty to lead, negotiate, and compromise. He is still unwilling to do any of the above. Americans had to cut their spending by 3% when the tax breaks expired at the end of the year. The government and all of its agencies should be able to do the same. Tell the leader of your party to be careful what he asks for next time.....he just might get it.
Mark Gryzwa February 27, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Betty, Sequestration slows the increases of out of control spending by you and your peers in Washington. It appears to be the only way you will get the message to live within our means. Get to the hard work of making real cuts and then we can talk about revenue increases. None of you have shown the financial understanding nor discipline to keep us solvent. Get to work!
yomammy February 27, 2013 at 06:28 PM
solution? get people back to work. Let busines hire- keep taxes low/where they are at- make a minimal increase to "minimum wage" start pushing people off the welfare dime and get them producing (and paying taxes)
Lance Johnson February 28, 2013 at 03:11 AM
Betty, Is it true that you voted for it? You say "responsible leaders" would take certain actions. Since neither you or Obama has taken any such actions but instead elect to spend our country into bankruptcy for younger generations to face, does it follow then by your reasoning that neither one of you is a "responsible leader"?
yomammy February 28, 2013 at 01:25 PM
waiting for the "this is the previous administrations fault..."

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