Sequester Hits Pocketbooks and Hits Home
Last week, President Obama presented his FY14 budget proposal, which would end sequestration through increased revenues and spending cuts. In March, the Senate adopted an FY14 budget resolution that would end sequestration through revenues and cuts, while the budget adopted by the House of Representatives that same week would continue sequestration. AAUW believes it’s time for Congress and the president to pass and enact a budget that will end the thoughtless cuts and needless harms of sequestration.
If you’d have asked me a year or even two months ago, I would have said there was no way sequestration (significant across-the-board cuts to domestic and defense spending) would actually happen. I would have wagered my lobbyist credentials that there was no way Washington would be so intransigent and let something this major and this stupid happen. (For more information about how we got here, check out our Budget 101 blog series.)
I would have been wrong. Sequestration happened. And it’s continuing to happen across the country, with real impacts on people’s lives and pocketbooks. The Huffington Post recently published a list of sequestration’s local impacts, including
- Education jobs lost in Sioux City, Iowa. The Iowa Early Intervention education program will lose 11 teaching positions, while the Sioux City Community School Board is looking at potentially 30 staff positions being eliminated.
- Families that rely on Head Start affected in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Allentown-based Community Services for Children has warned that 100 children in Lehigh Valley could lose their places in the Head Start program.
- Fewer staffers for Head Start in Rio Grande Valley, Texas. A local Head Start chapter froze the hiring of 19 staff positions in order to meet sequester-cut demands.
- Shorter school week at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The military is considering shifting to a four-day school week, which would affect 84,000 students on military installations worldwide and 5,000 at Fort Bragg. Teachers may also face furloughs in the coming months.
- Fewer children enrolled in Head Start in Cincinnati. Right now, as many as 182 students may be dropped from the program.
- Work-study jobs cut in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The University of North Carolina will cut 31 work-study jobs in the next academic year because of an $84,000 sequestration-related cut.
- School aid slashed in Knoxville, Tennessee. The University of Tennessee will slash 33 student awards for the 2013–14 school year.
- Weeks of Head Start dropped in Iron County, Missouri. The Ironton Head Start Center said it will drop three weeks of coverage due to sequestration.
- Funding for child care lost in Arizona. The Department of Economic Security expects to lose nearly $3 million in child care funding. That means the state must come up with extra funds to keep about 1,000 children of working parents in care.
- School jobs slashed in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Eighty-six teacher jobs and 59 instruction-support positions are up for elimination.
- Career development in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s Women’s Resource Network is losing money that it uses for a program designed to interest female students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers.
This is not at all a comprehensive list — it’s selected stories from a news article. But every story shows the effects of sequestration and how it’s destroying jobs and opportunities. This is why AAUW has opposed sequestration since it was first proposed and why we continue to call on Congress to end it.
AAUW has said it before and will say it again: We believe that the best way to reduce the country’s deficit is to create jobs and increase revenues and to close corporate tax loopholes while continuing the current tax rates for the middle class. Indiscriminately slashing federal spending does not do this; it only makes things worse.
AAUW is a nonpartisan organization, but we’re also multipartisan, representing a variety of political affiliations and viewpoints. Despite our differences, AAUW members come together to get things done and serve our communities. Congress should do the same. AAUW members want Congress to support budget policies that further the principles of fairness and fiscal responsibility and protect women and their families.