Support Deal to End Shutdown and Default Crisis
Advocacy Letter - 10/16/13
Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: U.S. House of Representatives
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, we write to express our support for the bipartisan deal announced today to temporarily restore government funding and provide a short-term increase in the federal debt ceiling. The agreement would reopen the federal government through January 15, raise the debt ceiling through February 7, require a joint House-Senate conference to create a longer-term FY 2014 budget agreement, provide back pay to furloughed workers, and increase income verification requirements for people who apply for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
We support this deal with significant reservations, particularly because it does nothing to alter the devastating federal spending cuts imposed by the sequester under the Budget Control Act of 2011 – which, even before the shutdown, was causing widespread damage. For example, children have lost access to Head Start and other vital educational programs while class sizes have grown; health care programs and food inspection services have been cut back; law enforcement and public safety programs are being starved of vital resources; and badly-needed upgrades to our transportation infrastructure have been put off. According to a Congressional Budget Office estimate, leaving the sequester in place will result in a loss of 1.6 million jobs by the end of FY 2014.
We are also troubled with the short-term nature of this agreement, as we have ample reason to fear that we will simply be faced with another government shutdown or another threat of federal default several months from now. Our nation simply cannot afford to govern from crisis to crisis in this manner.
Unfortunately, we are left today – after several weeks of a completely unnecessary shutdown, and only hours before our government breaches its debt ceiling – with no choice but to recommend a “yes” vote on this deal. In the meantime, we strongly urge you to revisit the damaging cuts imposed by the sequester and to replace it with a careful balance of targeted spending cuts and limits on tax breaks – the approach urged by every single bipartisan commission that has examined the deficit.
Again, we urge you to vote for the bipartisan budget deal announced today. Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions, please contact either of us or Senior Counsel Rob Randhava at (202) 466-3311.
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