Sequester: The Last Tool We Have

Sequester: The Last Tool We Have

House Chamber, Washington, D.C.
February 27, 2013
 
 
The decline and fall of the Roman Empire offers us a sobering warning of a great a nation that became over-extended and war-weary abroad, while it became utterly profligate and decadent at home.  Its economy in shambles and its treasury bankrupt, the mightiest military power on Earth finally fell easy prey for backward hordes that had previously existed only beyond the fringe of civilization.
 
Three years ago, Admiral Mike Mullen sounded the alarm for our nation with this chilling warning: "Our national debt is our biggest national security threat."
 
That was three years ago, when our debt stood at $13 ½ trillion.  Today, we owe $16 ½ trillion.  In other words, since he issued that warning, we have added more to this country’s debt than we did in our nation’s first 200 years.   
 
No nation has ever taxed and borrowed and spent its way to prosperity, but many nations have taxed and borrowed and spent their way to economic ruin and bankruptcy and history is screaming this warning at us: Nations that bankrupt themselves aren’t around very long, because before you can provide for the common defense you have to be able to pay for it, and the ability of our nation to do so is coming into grave question.
 
Just in the first four weeks of this year, Congress added more than a third of a trillion dollars of new spending to this crushing burden.   
 
The fiscal cliff deal added $300 billion of new spending and the Hurricane Sandy bill added another $50 billion – more than 90 percent of which had nothing to do with emergency relief for storm victims.  Earlier this month, Congress simply did away with the debt limit altogether until mid-May.  
 
Two years ago, Congress passed the so-called “The Budget Control Act” that authorized the biggest single expansion of debt in our nation’s history.
 
But Congress also agreed to reduce the projected deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years – either by a super-committee or, failing that, through an automatic budget reduction called the “sequester.”
 
The sequester doesn’t actually cut spending in any conventional sense of the word.  After a decade in which spending has grown 64 percent – or nearly twice the rate of inflation and population combined -- the sequester merely limits the increase next year to one half of one percent.  
 
I opposed that Act in part because its sequester was less than 1/3 of what officials at Standard and Poors warned was the minimum necessary deficit reduction to preserve our nation’s triple-A credit rating.  I also objected to across-the-board cuts – that treat our highest priority the same as our lowest – and the disproportionate impact it would have on our defense budget.
 
These warnings fell on deaf ears at the time.
 
But since then, twice the House has tried to address this mistake with legislation to replace the worst of the defense cuts with long-term entitlement reform.  That’s ultimately the only way to bring our fiscal crisis and its spiraling debt under control.  
 
Both died in the Senate, and after the November election, the likelihood of any entitlement reform over the next several years is exceedingly remote.
 
Which means that however imperfect the sequester may be, it is at this moment in our history, the ONLY tool currently available to us to BEGIN to point our nation back toward fiscal solvency and away from the perilous fiscal path that we are now on.   
 
We need to give administrators – especially the military command – the flexibility to set priorities and manage our money accordingly.  But the overall sequester reductions must be maintained.  
 
A few months ago, the chief of sovereign debt for Standard and Poors made this point: that although the sequester was insufficient to justify maintaining a triple-A credit rating, it was at least a step in the right direction.  He said, “the sequester was an agreement that Congress made with itself, and we would view any step back from that agreement very negatively.”
 
When the history of our era is written, let it not be said that ours was a generation of locusts that consumed not only the wealth we inherited from our fathers and mothers, but also stripped bare the futures of our sons and daughters.  
 
Let us instead begin a new direction for our nation: stepping back from the fiscal precipice that threatens to destroy our nation from within.  
 

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February Town Hall Meetings

Congressman McClintock will be hosting the following town hall meetings in February:
 
El Dorado Hills 
February 18, 2015
6:00 PM
Town Hall Meeting
Oakridge High School
1120 Harvard Way
 
Jamestown 
February 19, 2015
6:00 PM
Town Hall Meeting
Sheriff's Posse Clubhouse
19130 Rawhide Road  S
 
For further information about upcoming town hall meetings please call the district office at 916-786-5560.

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Office staff members are available to assist constituents with problems or concerns at satellite office locations held throughout the district.  Anyone wishing to discuss an issue of federal concern is invited to attend one of these satellite office sessions and speak with a member of staff.  For more information, or to reach staff, please call the district office at 916-786-5560.
  
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Amador County
 
Jackson
Tuesday, February 24th
9:30 am-11:00 am
Conference Room D
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Calaveras County
 
San Andreas 
Tuesday, February 10th
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120 Toma Court
 
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Placerville 
Tuesday, February 10th
9:45 am-11:30 am
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330 Fair Lane
 
El Dorado Hills 
Tuesday, February 10th
12:00 pm-2:00 pm
El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce
2085 Vine Street, #105
 
Camino 
Thursday, February 12th
10:00 am-11:30 am
Pollock Pines/Camino Chamber of Commerce
4123 Carson Road, Suite B
 
South Lake Tahoe 
Thursday, February 19th
10:00 am-12:00 pm
South Lake Tahoe Public Utility District
1275 Meadow Crest Drive
 
Fresno County
 
Auberry 
Monday, February 9th
11:00 am-1:00 pm
The Auberry Library
33049 Auberry Rd
 
Madera County
 
Oakhurst 
Tuesday, February 10th
9:00 am-11:00 am
Yosemite Visitor Bureau Conference Room
40637 Highway 41
 
Mariposa County
 
Mariposa 
Tuesday, February 3rd
10:30 am-12:00 pm
Library Conference Room
4978 10th Street
 
Placer County
 
Auburn
Wednesday, February 4th
9:00 am-11:00 am
Auburn City Hall
The Rose Room
1225 Lincoln Way
 
Foresthill 
Wednesday, February 4th
12:00 pm-2:00 pm
Veterans Memorial Hall
24600 Harrison Street
 
Lincoln
Tuesday, February 10th
3:00 pm-5:00 pm
Lincoln City Hall
600 6th Street
 
Rocklin 
Tuesday, February 24th
3:00 pm-5:00 pm
Rocklin City Hall
3980 Rocklin Rd
 
Tahoe City
Tuesday, February 3rd
9:00 am-11:00 am
North Lake Tahoe Arts Center
380 North Lake Tahoe Blvd
 
Tuolumne County
 
Sonora 
Tuesday, February 10th
1:00 pm-2:30 pm
Small Business Center Conference Room
99 N Washington St
 
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