Robert Menendez

US Senator for New Jersey
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Menendez: Sequestration Wasn’t The Solution Then, It’s Not The Solution Now

February 28, 2013

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who voted against the Budget Control Act of 2011, today supported Majority Leader Reid’s balanced approach to replace the job-killing sequester cuts that are set to go into effect tomorrow. Menendez reiterated that automatic, draconian cuts were “not the solution then and they are not the solution now”, and he opposed Republicans’ proposal to unfairly put the burden of deficit reduction on working families.

“I’m extremely disappointed that Senate Republicans filibustered a balanced approach to replace the sequester — a proposal that a majority of Senators supported.  For years now, Congress has been held hostage by a radical few who believe their view of the world, their vision of government, must be America’s vision,” said Senator Menendez. “And this vision has time and again brought us to the brink of manufactured crises that threaten our economic recovery and middle-class Americans. I opposed the Budget Control Act of 2011, which has brought us to this point.  Draconian across-the-board cuts were not the solution then and they are not the solution now.  That’s why today I joined my fellow Democrats in supporting an alternative to sequestration that’s balanced, fair, reasonable and would avoid making this bad idea a reality.”

The Senate failed to get cloture on either of the two alternative proposals voted upon today, despite a majority of support for the Democratic alternative.  Now, it is almost certain that the sequestration cuts will go into effect tomorrow.  Congressional leaders are set to meet with President Obama tomorrow, and Democrats will continue working toward a solution. 

These cuts will impact New Jerseyans as they try to recover and rebuild from Superstorm Sandy. Roughly $2.5 billion would be cut from the Sandy Relief Package; approximately $1 billion from the disaster relief fund, which is the Federal Emergency Management Agency's main way of paying individuals and communities for their damage, and $1.5 billion from other sources including the Community Block Development Grant (CDBG) program and emergency transportation funding.

“After weeks and weeks of unnecessary delay, Republicans finally did what we have always done and stood with Americans suffering in the aftermath of a crippling natural disaster,” Menendez added. “But now, sequestration is threatening this very funding we fought so hard to secure.  We must avoid these automatic cuts in order to ensure that our transportation networks, beach communities, businesses and local neighborhoods can rebuild stronger so that they are better prepared for future storms."

In addition to cutting Sandy relief, in New Jersey:

    • 160 teacher and aide jobs are at risk [White House]
    • 1,600 children would be kicked off Head Start [White House]
    • Approximately 11,000 civilian Department of Defense employees would be furloughed, reducing gross pay by around $75 million in total [White House]
    • Nearly 3,930 fewer children would receive life-saving vaccinations [DPCC based on Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-Health & Human Services]
    • New Jersey would lose approximately $488,000 in funds that provide meals for seniors [White House]
    • Tax returns would be delayed [White House]

Senator Menendez today launched this webpage to inform constituents of the cuts and how they will impact New Jersey. On the page, Menendez also shares his record of opposing the Budget Control Act, citing since day one the negative impact it would have on New Jersey middle-class families and businesses.

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