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Perspective: Sequester deadline approaches

Perspective: Sequester deadline approaches

February 23rd, 2013 by U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo. in News

The president and the Senate have had months to show how they plan to replace the devastating, across-the-board cuts in the president's sequester with responsible spending and reforms.

They have failed, and on March 1 the president's $85 billion worth of sequester cuts that affect our national defense and domestic programs go into effect.

There is no doubt that the sequester was the president's idea and I, along with my Republican colleagues in the House, have twice voted to replace sequestration in the last Congress, one six months ago and again eight weeks ago.

But the Senate declined to bring our legislation up for a vote. It is my belief that the president's sequester should be replaced with spending cuts and reforms that will start us on the path to balancing the budget in 10 years.

Among these common-sense cuts include eliminating a "too big to fail" bailout fund in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. The GOP bills consolidate 47 overlapping government programs across nine agencies and restrain the growth and spending by government bureaucracies.

The House-passed bills would save billions by clamping down on millionaires receiving food stamps, ending over-payment of taxpayer-funded benefits, and more.

If more Washington spending was the answer as the president clearly believes, our economy would be firing on all cylinders.

Unfortunately that's not the case. The tax, regulate, and spend policies of President Obama are one of the main reasons that our economy is still struggling. Middle class families are experiencing less take home pay and higher prices at the grocery store and at the gas pump.

The rub here is that the Senate's failure to pass a budget, coupled with the unsustainable spending creates a scenario in which eliminating the proposed sequester is not a worse alternative than allowing it to occur on March 1.

We have to get our spending under control and the irony of the situation is that while the president proposed these devastating, across-the-board spending cuts that will hurt hardworking Americans and national defense, he now claims it is a "very bad idea."

With the sequester deadline upon us, it is critical that the president and his allies set politics aside and put the needs of the American people first. We have to stop spending like drunken sailors and get our budget in balance so that we can create economic opportunities for Americans like you. We have to look at reforming entitlement programs. We should reduce government waste and streamline the federal workforce.

Time is running short on reaching a solution to our spending problem. If spending continues this way, the problems facing countries like Greece and Japan will not seem so far away for an America that every day is digging itself a deeper, and more desperate, hole of debt.

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., represents the 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office call be reached at (573) 635-7232.

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