Guest Column: Bustos: Why sequestration is wrong

February 27, 2013

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D)

By U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D)
17th Congressional District

In just a matter of days, deep across-the-board budget cuts that were designed to be so painful that they would never see the light of day are set to kick in. These cuts, also known as sequestration, could deal a big blow to the economy of our region and lead to job losses.

That is why I have been opposed to sequestration from the very beginning.

Yet, here we are, less than a week away from feeling the impact of these indiscriminate cuts to every federal government program. From cutting programs like Head Start that equip our children with the tools to learn, to programs that make sure the communities we live in are safe, to programs that protect our country from threats abroad, these cuts will impact us all, and could wreak havoc on our region’s economy.

Here is how:

The Rock Island Arsenal is the largest employer in our region, with about 8,000 workers. Sequestration will force the Army’s civilian workforce at the Arsenal to begin furloughs. Army analysis shows the Arsenal could lose close to $200 million from the automatic budget cuts.

Cuts to the Arsenal also will have a trickle-down effect throughout the region. People will have less money to eat out, see a movie, buy a car and shop in our small businesses. We cannot afford to let this happen.

In addition to jeopardizing national security and readiness, sequestration could harm border security, food safety programs, as well as airline safety and security.

In Illinois alone, close to 3,000 children could lose access to Head Start, 50,000 people could lose access to job training programs, 5,000 fewer children could have access to vaccines, funding for law enforcement and first responders could be cut, and the list goes on.

Rather than argue about how and why we got to this point, now is the time for both parties to work together to find a bipartisan, common-sense plan to stop these cuts in their tracks.

Here is what I’ve done to play my part in bringing about such a solution:

Instead of sending members of Congress home last week, I asked Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to keep the House of Representatives in session so we could work together on a deal to avert the sequester. As much as I wanted to go home to Illinois to travel around our region and listen to our residents, sending lawmakers home before a deal was reached was irresponsible and not in the best interests of our country.

Unfortunately, with the clock ticking, my call to stay and work wasn’t heeded.

I also introduced the Government Waste Reduction Act, a bipartisan, common-sense piece of legislation that could save tens of billions of dollars by reducing unnecessary duplicative government services and programs while protecting those that middle class folks across the country rely on.

This represents a good first step toward getting our country back on sound fiscal footing without hurting our middle class and hardworking Americans.

As for sequestration, anyone can see these across-the-board cuts are bad for our economy and bad for our communities here in the 17th Congressional District. We need to get our fiscal house in order, but it cannot be on the backs of American workers, the middle class, and the programs that support the middle class.

I urge both parties to come together to find a bipartisan common-sense solution before March 1.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., is in her first term serving the 17th Congressional District, which includes portions of Rockford. She lives in East Moline, Ill.

From the Feb. 27-March 5, 2013, issue


  1. John

    February 27, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Lets toss out a couple of facts Rep. Bustos “forgot” to mention. The House has thus far sent TWO bills to the Senste. The Senate has NOT acted, or voted or either. The .senate under Democrat Harry Reid has done NOTHING.

    Yet Ms. bustos would have us believe this s a Republican “problem”

    All Liberal Democrats Lie .all the tone

  2. John

    February 27, 2013 at 10:37 am

    A power outage sent that message before I finished editing. Nonetheless, the point was made. Senate failure to act led to the .speakers comment yesterday that they should “get off their asses”.

    I agree. With regard to Ms. Bustos, we clearly elected another liberal mouthpiece….not a problem solver.

  3. Dan

    February 27, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Rep. Bustos is worried about the effects this will have on Head Start? She is obviously ignorant of the study by U.S HHS that shows what a stinking waste of resources that program has been for FAR too long.

    From the study: “However, the benefits of access to Head Start at age four are largely absent by 1st grade for the program population as a whole. For 3-year-olds, there are few sustained benefits”

    The study even shows that there were NEGATIVE social impacts on these youngsters.

    Beyond that, this is just a blatant scare tactic. She is frightened that once we make this tiny cut in spending, the populous will realize we can reduce our unnecessary and dysfunctional programs.

  4. Otis

    February 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Budget cuts? What budget? Obama has increased spending by 8%. and this only a 2% cut. Suck it up Washington like the rest of us have had to do.
    Maybe you Ms Bustos should take a pay cut till this gets fixed. There are so many places that could be cut other than the places you mentioned. This nothing but scare tactics. Shameful.

  5. Curt

    March 4, 2013 at 5:27 am

    First Ms Bustos, your party has not passed a budget that is REQUIRED BY LAW since Obama has been in power. When the republicans took the house back in 2010, they passed a budget every year, but the democratic senate has NOT EVEN ACTED ON ONE OF THEM.

    Second – Your posturing is repulsive. You knew that your call to stay in washington would go unheeded, but you did it anyways. What purpose would it serve to stay in session? Your party will not compromise, because compromise in your mind is that the republicans need to do what the democrats want. That is not a compromise.

    Third – these ‘cuts’ are just a reduction in spending increases. THERE ARE NO CUTS. A cut would mean that you would spend less than last year, but even under the ‘cuts’, spending goes up.

    Fourth – The federal government cannot spend the economy back into gear. That is done by the private sector and you know that. More taxes for people that make more than $250,000 will NOT boost the economy. People that make more than $250,000 a year are mostly small business that employ a lot of people. Raising their taxes like you want will stifle the economy.

    We can see through the garbage that your party throws out.

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