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An Open Letter to Congress: Respect the Sequester’s Goals

November 09, 2012 J

Dear Member of Congress:

We the undersigned organizations, representing millions of Americans dedicated to fiscal responsibility, urge you stand firm and hold the line on the budget sequester set forth in the Budget Control Act of 2011. With the federal government facing yet another year of projected deficit spending exceeding $1 trillion, Congress must keep in place the $109 billion in sequestration spending restraint scheduled for 2013. Delaying this action will only make it harder to get our fiscal house in order, in the process weakening our economy, saddling future generations with debt, and further undermining Congress’s credibility to lead.

We understand there are concerns that the sequester will disproportionately affect the defense budget, with 50 percent of the cuts affecting security spending, which accounts for only 20 percent of the overall federal budget. However, this is a product of lawmakers’ unwillingness to consider serious entitlement reform that would confront the true drivers of our debt. Indeed, the BCA prevents practically any reform to mandatory spending, providing additional leverage for spendthrift lawmakers who want to claim the sequester’s impact on discretionary spending is too bitter a pill to swallow.

Furthermore, several of the signatories below have identified specific program savings in the defense and homeland security categories that could amply substitute for the sequester’s so-called “across-the-board” approach. Therefore, while it may be prudent to revise the actual composition of the cuts, it would be unacceptable to reduce or delay the overall amount of spending reductions. As Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) recently stated, “… the only thing that’s worse than cutting national defense is not having any scheduled cuts at all take place.”

If Congress reverses the cuts or replaces them with future empty promises, it will send a clear message to the American people: Congress is unable to make meaningful spending cuts.

Our nation’s debt has increased by approximately $1.7 trillion since the current sequester mechanism was first developed in August 2011. Permitting these cuts to occur would represent merely a modest first step toward fixing our debt crisis. Even with the Budget Control Act’s sequester and spending caps, total government spending is still expected to grow, albeit at a slightly slower rate. Rather than attempting to subvert the sequester, Congress should be proposing additional cuts to discretionary spending and considering meaningful reform to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, which pose tremendous threats to our fiscal stability.

Congress should reject any attempts to cut less than $109 billion or worse, to replace spending cuts with tax increases. The only responsible way forward for long-term prosperity is to immediately cut spending and to enact serious budgetary and entitlement reforms. This will require making the tough decisions you were elected to make.

Sincerely,

Pete Sepp
Executive Vice President
National Taxpayers Union

Chris Chocola
President
Club for Growth

Grover Norquist
President
Americans for Tax Reform

Andrew Moylan
Outreach Director and Senior Fellow
R Street Institute

James Valvo
Director of Policy
Americans for Prosperity

Jeff Frazee
Executive Director
Young Americans for Liberty

Clyde Wayne Crews, Jr.
Vice President of Policy
Competitive Enterprise Institute

Thomas A. Schatz
President
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Max Pappas
Vice President of Public Policy
FreedomWorks

David Williams
President
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Mattie Duppler
Executive Director
Cost of Government Center

Matthew J. Brouillette
President and CEO
Commonwealth Foundation

Paul Gessing
President
Rio Grande Foundation

Andrew F. Quinlan
President
Center for Freedom and Prosperity

William Wilson
President
Americans for Limited Government

Peter J. Thomas
Chairman
The Conservative Caucus

Jonathan M. Bydlak
President
Coalition to Reduce Spending

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

Phil Kerpen
President
American Commitment

Lisa Miller
Tea Party WDC

Mario H. Lopez
President
Hispanic Leadership Fund

Amy Ridenour
Chairman
National Center for Public Policy Research

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