Barrow County's Congresional representative, Paul Broun, told a crowd in Dacula recently that a series of automatic federal spending cuts scheduled to take place on March 1, known as "sequestration," will not be symbolic.
"Sequestration is ... it's a plan Barack Obama gave us, part of the budget control act," Broun, a Republican representing Georgia's 10th District, said at a Feb. 19 town hall meeting. "It said that we are going to cut $85 billion this year - half out of the military, half out of the rest of discretionary spending, across the board cuts."
The cuts -- though small relatively speaking -- are real, he explained.
"It will really cut the expenditures," Broun said.
With the United States national debt now at $16 trillion, the effect of $85 billion in cuts will be negligible. Even 10 years of sequestration cuts -- which will total $1.2 trillion according to CNN -- will not erase the country's debt. However, those in attendance at the Dacula town hall meeting seemed in agreement that the sequester should proceed.
"As a bargaining chip," one member of the audience shouted.
The White House has taken issue with the idea of Republicans using the sequester as a bargaining tool. The administration maintains Republican refusal to "ask the wealthy to pay a little more" will force "children, seniors, troops, military families and the entire middle class to bear the burden of deficit reduction." Instead, the Obama administration has called for replacing sequestration with a combination of spending cuts and new taxes.
President Obama's plan, the White House website states, "resolves the sequester and reduces our deficit by over $4 trillion dollars in a balanced way - by cutting spending, finding savings in entitlement programs and asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share."
In an effort to garner support for their plan, the White House released 51 fact sheets outlining the effects sequestration will have in each state and the District of Columbia. According to the administration, the sequester would have several negative consequences in Georgia including:
- The loss of $28.6 million in funding for primary and secondary education.
- The elimination of Head Start and Early Head Start for approximately 1,700 children.
- The furlough of approximately 37,000 Department of Defense employees.
- The loss of access to child care for up to 1,100 disadvantaged and vulnerable children.
See the attached pdf for the complete list.
Do you want the automatic cuts to go into effect? Do you think Congress can or should reach an agreement on a plan to avoid the across the board cuts? Let us know in the comments.