Over 1,500 NH workers face up to 11 days of unpaid furloughs; economic loss is estimated at $3 million
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter
PORTSMOUTH, NH – This week, 1,300 workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) and 229 civilian technicians at Pease Air National Guard Base will join the growing list of Americans who are being punished as a result of Congress’ failure to replace the arbitrary cuts of sequestration with a balanced plan that reduces the deficit and grows our economy.
“I am extremely frustrated and disappointed that furloughs are underway at the Shipyard, Pease, and across New Hampshire in spite of the critical work being done by the hardworking men and women of our state,” Rep. Carol Shea-Porter said. “New Hampshire families are being hurt by an unnecessary pay cut because Speaker Boehner refuses to bring a responsible deficit reduction plan up for a vote. I urge every member of Congress, regardless of party, to put aside political differences and consider the effects sequestration is having on our country’s national security, our economy, and middle class families. We need to work together to replace sequestration with a plan that creates jobs, invests in infrastructure and innovation, and pays down our deficit in a balanced way.”
Workers at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard are among the roughly 650,000 U.S. Department of Defense employees facing up to 11 days of unpaid furloughs, suddenly reducing their income by 20 percent for the duration of the furloughs. This will result in a national economic impact of more than $2.04 billion. In New Hampshire, the economic loss is estimated at around $3 million.
Congresswoman Shea-Porter did not vote for sequestration and she spoke out against these indiscriminate cuts even before she was sworn into the 113th Congress. Since then, she has consistently spoken out in opposition to sequestration’s reckless cuts.
On February 5, she sent a letter to Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi requesting immediate action to address sequestration. In the letter, she said: “I am writing to you to express my concern that Congress has not yet dealt with the threat to our economy and national defense posed by the automatic sequestration cuts that were passed by the 112th Congress. These cuts, enacted as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, are irresponsible and arbitrary, and would place a crippling burden on many critical departments and agencies in the federal government. In New Hampshire, we are already seeing the threat posed by sequestration as the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has begun to take steps to prepare for it.”
On March 3, she cosponsored the Stop the Sequester Job Loss Now Act, legislation that would eliminate the sequester for calendar year 2013 entirely while reducing the deficit by more than the amount of the scheduled across-the-board spending cuts. It makes specific policy choices that reduce the deficit in a balanced way, with a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases.
On March 8, she submitted a statement to the House Budget Committee about the effects of sequestration on New Hampshire, specifically highlighting the importance of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to the region’s economy and our nation’s national defense.
On March 12, she cosponsored H.R. 900, the Cancel the Sequester Act of 2013, a one-sentence bill that would repeal the section of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that created sequestration.
On March 21, she expressed her solidarity with Shipyard workers after they rallied against sequestration. She said, “I stand with local workers and businesses in opposition to sequestration’s irresponsible and reckless cuts.”
On March 25, she toured the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and discussed the impact of sequestration with workers and Navy leaders. After the tour, she held a press conference with Paul O’Connor, President of the Shipyard Metal Trades Council, and Shipyard workers to denounce the harm of sequestration.
On March 28, she toured Pease to discuss her fight against sequestration, gather information about its on-the-ground impact, and push for the KC-46A tanker.
On June 3, she cosponsored H.R. 2060, the Stop the Sequester Job Loss Now Through 2014 Act. The legislation would completely replace the across-the-board cuts through fiscal year 2014, while calling for a balanced solution to stop the full multi-year sequester.
On June 20, she signed a discharge petition requiring the House to work with the Senate to produce a final budget compromise.
On June 21, she led a group of 21 Representatives in sending a letter to the House Appropriations Committee requesting that Federal TRIO Programs be protected from further cuts under sequestration in Fiscal Year 2014.
On July 8, she joined members of the Maine and New Hampshire congressional delegations in hosting General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and visited PNSY and Pease to discuss furloughs caused by sequestration.
“From the Seacoast to the North Country, sequestration not only inflicts irrational cuts on education, health, and national security priorities, but it punishes hard-working families and hampers our economic recovery,” Shea-Porter concluded. “For the health of our economy and our middle class, Congress must act to replace these indiscriminate cuts with a responsible plan that will help, not hurt, our economic recovery.”