The Society for Community Research and Action Opposes the Federal Sequester
By Madison Sunnquist
(this post has been updated, scroll down to see the updates!)
(this post has been updated, scroll down to see the updates!)
Originally passed as part of the Budget Control Act in August 2011 in exchange for the debt ceiling to be raised, the sequester cuts were intended to serve as an incentive for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to arrive at a consensus to reduce the deficit. Unfortunately, the committee failed to reach a consensus, and $1.2 trillion in cuts will be made over the next ten years. During the nine months between March 1st 2013 and the end of the year, $85.3 billion will be cut from the budget. These cuts will have destructive effects on US citizens, particularly on individuals who depend on government support during this harsh economic climate.
For up to 750,000 women and children, these cuts will take away their access to the Women, Infants, and Children program that provides them with nutrition and food aid. For individuals who have been unemployed for more than six months (about 40% of those currently unemployed), benefits will be reduced by 11%, or about $130 per month on average. Approximately 100,000 families will lose their housing vouchers. In addition, forecasters project that sequestration will cost about 700,000 jobs this year.
The Society for Community Research and Action is encouraging its members to act immediately by:
• Writing op-eds, blogs, and editorials to inform the general public about the implications of these budget cuts and encourage community members to contact their local legislators
• Contacting congressional representatives to make them aware of the ramifications of the current plan and encourage reasonable modifications
• Spreading awareness of the impact of the sequester cuts through face-to-face discussions to encourage more individuals to contact their local legislators
Ongoing negotiations regarding the federal budget are occurring, and possible modifications to the sequester cuts will be a part of this broader discussion. We encourage you to use the links and letter templates below to learn more about the effects of the sequestration and to contact your representatives.
• Learn more the sequestration from the APA Federal Budget Blog: http://www.apa.org/about/gr/science/news/budget.aspx#20130304000000 (American Psychological Association, 2013)
• Find your local representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
o Use the following template to write to your representative:
Dear Honorable Elected Official, My name is ______ and I am a resident of _______. I would like to request your support of H.R. 900, the Cancel the Sequester Act of 2013. These sequester cuts jeopardize the programs essential for the health and welfare of many citizens in the most impoverished areas of our communities, whom we have a responsibility to protect. In a fragile economy, we cannot make irresponsible, unfocused budget cuts. As citizens, we trust our elected representatives to act within the best interests of the public; however, these sequester cuts jeopardize our citizens’ well-being. Thank you for your consideration.
• Petition to eliminate the sequester act of 2013: http://pac.signon.org/sign/congress-vote-for-the?source=s.em.mt&r_by=7268510
o Distribute this petition to friends and colleagues with the following message: “Dear Friends, I signed a petition to the United States House of Representatives to vote for HR 900 and Cancel the Sequester Act of 2013. To sign this petition, click here: http://pac.signon.org/sign/congress-vote-for-the?source=s.em.mt&r_by=7268510 Thank you.”
Below you’ll find a few articles that provide updates on the latest sequester-related news.
The following article tells one woman’s story of becoming homeless due to the sequester cuts in housing programs. After losing her job and her home, she thought she was going to be able to start moving forward again thanks to the housing choice voucher that would enable her to provide a home for herself and her newborn daughter. Unfortunately, she recently received a letter revoking her voucher due to the sequester cuts. http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/investigations/LWRD--202445131.html
President Obama released his controversial 2014 budget yesterday and attempted to replace the sequester cuts through a combination of tax increases on the wealthy and cuts in health spending and Social Security benefits. However, this budget has not gained support from Republicans or Democrats. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/11/us-usa-fiscal-idUSBRE93909G20130411
The results of a recent CNN poll show that 4 in 10 Americans have already been affected by the sequester cuts. The impacts have been even greater among individuals with lower incomes and those who live in rural areas. Over half of individuals making less than $50,000 report that they have been affected by the cuts. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/04/10/four-in-10-americans-feel-sequester-pain/
We greatly appreciate your support so far, and please continue to email firstname.lastname@example.org as more representatives are contacted.
In addition to contacting our representatives, writing blogs and opinion pieces is another great way to make our voices heard regarding the sequester.
Paul L. Friedman and Reggie B. Walton are federal judges who recently published an opinion piece on sequestration for the Washington Post: “Generally, federal judges should not become embroiled in political disputes. But we feel compelled to speak out because sequestration poses an existential threat to the right of indigent defendants to have publicly funded legal representation — a right that the Supreme Court recognized 50 years ago in its landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/public-defenders-offices-shouldnt-suffer-under-sequestration/2013/04/18/c861b464-a619-11e2-a8e2-5b98cb59187f_story.html
A recent blog by Lenny Jason discusses the current dysfunction in Washington and began with this statement: “As the federal bureaucracy continues to struggle with philosophical issues of the appropriate role of government, many Americans feel that our political parties are incapable of providing credible solutions to the nation’s burgeoning societal and economic problems.” http://blog.oup.com/2013/03/small-gov-social-problems-addiction/ This blog appeared in the Oxford University Press, one of the most widely read academic blogs in the world, with an average of 35,000 visits per month. It was reprinted in newsletters as far away as New Zealand and in newspapers as far as France, and later posted on over 130 websites, including Goodreads and FeedBurner. Following publication, Paul Molloy, the founder of the Oxford House movement sent this blog to all State Directors of Substance Abuse Programs.
Stacey Burling, an Inquirer Staff Writer, wrote a piece about the effect of sequestration on the Science front. Jonathan Chernoff, chief scientific officer for Fox Chase Cancer Center, says the "slow-motion train wreck" that is sequestration is starting to damage the research laboratories at his institution. http://articles.philly.com/2013-04-19/business/38677013_1_research-cuts-cancer-research-grants
Thank you for your continued support, and please keep us updated as you contact representatives or write blogs or Op-Eds by emailing email@example.com.