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REP Kuster Calls for Balanced, Bipartisan Plan to Avert Automatic Spending Cuts (VIDEO)


Highlights new report showing middle class New Hampshire families will pay the price without it.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) spoke on the House floor last night about the need for Republicans and Democrats to work together on a balanced, bipartisan plan to avert the automatic spending cuts that are scheduled to take effect on March 1. If Congress fails to act, these devastating cuts will hurt middle class families, undermine our economy, and threaten our national security.

“If Congress fails to act, the sequester is going to trigger mindless, across-the-board cuts that will hurt middle class New Hampshire families and undermine our economy,” Kuster said. “There’s no question we need to reduce the deficit. But we have to do it in a balanced way that distinguishes between wasteful spending we can’t afford to keep and critical investments we can’t afford to cut.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that these automatic spending cuts would reduce economic growth by half in 2013 and cost up to 1.4 million jobs nationwide. A recent study by George Mason University estimated that New Hampshire would lose more than 6,300 jobs. On Sunday, the White House issued a new report outlining the devastating impacts these automatic cuts would have on middle class New Hampshire families over the next year alone:

·         Teachers and Schools: New Hampshire will lose approximately $1,078,000 in funding for primary and secondary education, putting teacher and aide jobs at risk. In addition about 1,000 fewer students would be served and approximately 10 fewer schools would receive funding.

·         Military Readiness: In New Hampshire, approximately 1,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $5.4 million in total.

·         Job Search Assistance to Help those in New Hampshire find Employment and Training: New Hampshire will lose about $138,000 in funding for job search assistance, referral, and placement, meaning around 4,950 fewer people will get the help and skills they need to find employment.

·         Work-Study Jobs: Around 120 fewer low income students in New Hampshire would receive aid to help them finance the costs of college and around 130 fewer students will get work-study jobs that help them pay for college.

·         Child Care: Up to 100 disadvantaged and vulnerable children could lose access to child care, which is also essential for working parents to hold down a job.

·         Vaccines for Children: In New Hampshire around 680 fewer children will receive vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis B due to reduced funding for vaccinations of about $46,000.

·         STOP Violence Against Women Program: New Hampshire could lose up to $28,000 in funds that provide services to victims of domestic violence, resulting in up to 100 fewer victims being served.

Kuster has repeatedly called on Congress to replace these automatic cuts with a balanced plan to reduce the deficit. Last week, Kuster called on both parties to work together to avert the sequester during a visit to Polartec, which produces uniform and combat clothing for the Department of Defense and would be negatively impacted by the defense  cuts included in the sequester.

Kuster recently wrote an op-ed highlighting the damaging impacts the automatic cuts would have on families and businesses in New Hampshire, and urged Congress to take a more balanced, bipartisan approach to reducing the deficit that will spur job creation, grow the economy, and protect middle class families.

In February, Kuster also helped establish the United Solutions Caucus, a new bipartisan coalition of Republican and Democratic freshman focused on resolving our nation’s fiscal challenges in a common sense, bipartisan way.

Congresswoman Kuster Tells Congress: No Budget, No Pay!

Ann kuster head shot LGDo you want to see some changes in Washington, threaten to take away their pay.

Today Congresswoman Kuster voted for the No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013, which prevents the federal government from defaulting on its debt through May 19 and prohibits pay for Members of Congress until they pass a budget.

“I voted for the No Budget, No Pay Act to remove the immediate threat of default and ensure that America will continue to meet its obligations. However, this bill is only a temporary fix and a far cry from responsible governing,” said Kuster. “The American people did not send us here to pass last-minute, stopgap measures that create uncertainty in our economy. They sent us here to come together to reduce the deficit in a balanced, responsible way that will help create jobs and grow the economy, put our nation on a sustainable fiscal path, and protect seniors and middle class families. While it’s far from perfect, this bill gives Congress time to focus on coming together to pass a budget that cuts the deficit.”

In addition to preventing a default on the nation’s debt, the No Budget, No Pay Act also withholds pay from Members of Congress if they fail to pass a budget by April 15.

“When Congress fails to pass a responsible budget, I believe that members of both parties should be held accountable,” Kuster added. “New Hampshire families and businesses have to live within a budget and make hard choices to balance their checkbooks. Members of Congress need to do the same. If they don’t, they shouldn’t get paid – period.”

How About We Maybe Don’t Intentionally Cause a Recession by Breaching the Debt Ceiling?

Written by Seth D. Michaels on the Working America Main Street Blog

This is the first thing you need to know before you hear anything else about the debt ceiling: it has to go up and everyone knows it. Before you listen to any of the political rhetoric or watch any of the media coverage, commit that truth to mind and remember it.

Why does it have to go up? For two reasons.

1. The debt ceiling doesn’t authorize new spending. It covers spending that Congress has already appropriated. Congress sets revenue levels and spending levels, and the administration has to obey those levels—that’s how it’s laid out in the Constitution. The debt ceiling only refers to Congress allowing the administration to borrow in order to meet the spending levels Congress appropriated.
2. If you breach the debt ceiling, it’s really, really bad. The exact extent to which it’s really bad is somewhat unpredictable, because we’ve never breached it before, but it’s guaranteed to have a big negative effect on the economy.

In his press conference yesterday, President Obama said—correctly—that the debt ceiling has to be raised to cover spending Congress already passed. Contrary to what theWashington Post’s Aaron Blake says, that’s not exactly a “semantic” difference or a “trick”—that’s how things actually work.

Nevertheless, Republicans in Congress continue to claim that this is an “opportunity” for them to force through unpopular policy changes they couldn’t otherwise carry out. In their public rhetoric, they’re claiming that raising the debt ceiling is something that President Obama wants, rather than a basic requirement of governing that everybody needs to happen. Put simply, they are lying.

So what happens if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling? A few descriptions from folks who have looked at it closely:

• “Unprecedented legal and economic chaos.”
• “The greatest smash in world financial history.”
• “Havoc would ensue.”
• “The markets will go haywire.”
• “We’d default on 40 percent of our obligations, over and over again…It would be pandemonium.”

Breaching the debt ceiling is essentially the same as tearing up your credit card bill and refusing to pay after the bank tells you that you hit your limit. It’s a declaration that we’re not good for the promises we’ve made, and that we won’t actually carry out the laws we’ve passed. Investors have been happy to put their money into the U.S.—refusing to raise the debt ceiling would hurt our national credit-worthiness far more than any deficit ever could. It would have spiraling consequences for the economy and could actually increase the deficit.

Who actually gets the checks when the government spends? A third of what the government spends is Social Security and Medicare benefits. Another fifth is taken up by military spending, including pay for active duty soldiers. Smaller portions are made up by veterans’ benefits, unemployment compensation, and Medicaid. That doesn’t even get into things like food safety inspectors, federal highway maintenance, air traffic controllers and college grants and loans. That’s real money that matters to real people—people who have house payments, kids to feed, medical needs.

The biggest problem we have in the economy right now is weak purchasing power—not enough people are employed and wages aren’t growing fast enough. We’re still trying to recover from a recession that devastated Americans’ purchasing power. A hit to purchasing power on the scale of a debt-ceiling breach would pull us back into recession.

Some officials are claiming that the government could pick and choose which bills it pays, so there wouldn’t be any “default,” just a “partial shutdown” of some government services. At the moment, that’s not true at all; the administration has no legal or constitutional power to pick and choose what to implement among the many kinds of spending Congress has mandated.

Republicans in Congress who understand how things work know that we have to raise the debt ceiling, but they’re hoping you don’t. The more confusing the argument over the debt ceiling is, the better off they’ll be. In reality, though, they’re threatening to intentionally tank the economy—to put us back into recession—unless they get policy changes that they couldn’t get through the normal democratic process. The word for that is “extortion.”

The Truth About GOV Romney and Massachusetts

Mitt Romney likes to portray himself as a successful governor of Massachusetts who worked in a bipartisan manner to reduce government spending and create jobs. Conveniently he seems to forget he left office with a 34% approval rating. All but certain to be a one term failed Governor as he was losing in the polls by 15% to his Democratic challenger.  Outside the Beltway commented at the time “the prospect of a guy who can’t win re-election in his own state moving on to the presidency is quite bizarre.”

Romney takes advantage of voters short attention spans to constantly misinform voters about his Massachusetts record. He likes to say he knows how to work with members of both parties to keep government functioning. He seems to forget that he had an astonishing 844 vetoes during his term. Almost all were overridden some unanimously.

Romney told the Christian Broadcasting Network earlier this year that ” Issue by issue (voters) have an opportunity to see my record when I was governor of Massachusetts. We were able to cut back on the size of government. Actually we just didn’t slow the rate of growth of our government, we actually cut it. We pulled back on the spending of our state.” Actually Mr Romney may have misled voters according to the facts.Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation provides the facts and they don’t match his rhetoric.

Fiscal year 2003 (partial-year Romney influence): $22.25 billion
Fiscal year 2004 (full-year Romney influence): $22.49 billion
Fiscal year 2005 (full-year Romney influence): $24.22 billion
Fiscal year 2006 (full-year Romney influence): $25.44 billion
Fiscal year 2007 (partial-year Romney influence) $27.92 billion

Lets turn to Governors Romney role as a “job creator” that he proudly bills himself. According to Wall Street Journals Market Watch:

“The Republican contender was the governor of Massachusetts from January 2003 to January 2007. And during that time, according to the U.S. Labor Department, the state ranked 47th in the entire country in jobs growth. Fourth from last.” (Maybe that’s why he does not care about the number 47 and the human beings attached to it.)

“The only ones that did worse? Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. In other words, two rust belt states and another that lost its biggest city to a hurricane.

The Massachusetts jobs growth over that period, a pitiful 0.9%, badly lagged other high-skill, high-wage, knowledge economy states like New York (2.7%), California (4.7%) and North Carolina (7.6%). The national average: More than 5%.”

Romney has only won a single election out of the three he campaigned for. When you analyze the facts of Romneys one term in elected office the picture painted is not an appealing one.  Romney has proven himself to be an ineffective and unpopular governor. As well as having a negative effect on the states job creation numbers.

Add to the fact that at Bain Capital Romney has proven to be a wealth creator for the wealthy not a job creator for working people, unless you consider China.

The one thing he does have on his side is the wealthy conservative super pacs who distort his record to information challenged voters, with millions of dollars of TV ads. Romney is a premiere salesman who is now selling himself to the American voters untethered to both the facts of his present policies and his past record in public office. They are looking at low information voters to pull them through.

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