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Moran Asks McDonnell to ‘Prod’ GOP on Sequestration

by ARLnow.com — October 19, 2012 at 9:45 am 2,034 37 Comments

Three Democratic members of Congress from northern Virginia, including Rep. Jim Moran, have sent a letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) in support of avoiding the “economic disaster” of sequestration through a “balanced approach to deficit reduction.”

The letter asks McDonnell to “prod” Republicans in Congress to support a deficit reduction package that closes tax loopholes, eliminates “unneeded subsidies,” and avoids deep cuts to social safety net programs.

Sequestration could cost Virginia 207,000 jobs and $20.9 billion in lost economic activity, according to one economist.

From a press release:

Congressmen Jim Moran (VA-08), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), and Bobby Scott (VA-03) wrote to Governor Bob McDonnell today detailing the impact sequestration cuts would have on Virginia families and urging Gov. McDonnell to use his leadership position in the national Republican Party to prod House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor “to begin discussions on a balanced deficit reduction package that can garner bipartisan support” and avoid an economic disaster for the Commonwealth.

The Virginia lawmakers were responding to McDonnell’s October 9 letter urging President Obama and the Virginia Congressional delegation to support a House Republican “cuts-only” plan that would shift all defense cuts to safety-net domestic programs. “We were puzzled by your recent letter to the President and congressional delegation urging support for the cuts-only approach,” the three Democratic lawmakers wrote. “Your concerns about the impact on Virginia of a sequester to defense spending, which we share, applies almost equally to nondefense discretionary spending, to which your letter is silent.”

The lawmakers questioned Governor McDonnell’s support of the “Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act” (H.R. 5652) passed by the House on May 10 on a party line vote. The legislation would prevent the sequestration cuts to defense programs by cutting an additional $300 billion over the next 10 years from safety net programs like Medicare, SNAP (food stamps), and non-profit health clinics providing preventive services. The bill also requires all current and future federal workers to pay an additional 5 percent of their salary toward their federal pensions. “Contrary to its title, this bill does not avert sequestration, instead shifting cuts to safety-net domestic programs in the early years and leaving the door open to across-the-board cuts in later years.”

Along with the defense cuts and their impact on Virginia’s federal contracting sector, sequestration could trigger massive layoffs in the federal workforce, and would result in fewer air traffic controllers, border guards, food inspectors, and cuts to public safety and nearly every other government function. The House Republican bill advanced by McDonnell would only make those cuts more severe since it contains no balance of new revenue.

Ironically, in 2011, Governor McDonnell wrote the Virginia delegation calling for a bipartisan solution with all options, including revenue, on the table. The cuts-only approach advocated by Governor McDonnell in his October letter departs from his previous bipartisan approach. “Last year…we applauded your initiative. We hope you will join us in calling on Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor to begin discussions on a balanced deficit reduction package that can garner bipartisan support. We stand ready to work with you to achieve a balanced solution that delivers on the tradition of our Commonwealth,” Connolly, Moran, and Scott wrote.

Sequestration, which mandates $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, came about after House Republicans, for the first time in history, refused to support the President’s request for a clean debt limit bill and instead demanded massive cuts. A commission formed in the aftermath failed to reach agreement on the savings when Republicans refused to consider closing tax loopholes, ending unneeded subsidies or any other revenue measures, and walked away from the table.

Unless Congress is able to find these savings, on January 2nd, defense spending immediately will be cut by about 10 percent, while non-defense discretionary spending will be cut by roughly 8 percent, and payments to Medicare providers will be cut by two percent – a total reduction in spending of $110 billion for fiscal year 2013.

Dr. Stephen Fuller of George Mason University predicted sequestration cuts could cost Virginia 207,000 jobs and put a $20.9 billion hole in Virginia’s economy.

Connolly, Moran, Scott, and other Democrats in Congress have repeatedly urged the House Republican leadership to cancel the 5-week August recess and the current 7-week recess to bring Congress back to Washington to deal with sequestration and other pressing fiscal matters that expire at the end of the calendar year.

October 18 Connolly, Moran, Scott Letter to Gov. McDonnell – http://connolly.house.gov/uploads/McDonnell%20sequester%20response%20Connolly%20-%20Moran%20-%20Scott%2010-18-12.pdf

October 10 Letter from McDonnell to President Obama and Virginia delegation – http://connolly.house.gov/uploads/McDonnell%20sequester%20letter%20to%20POTUS%2010-10-12.pdf

McDonnell Letter of July 2011 from McDonnell to President Obama and Virginia delegation – http://connolly.house.gov/uploads/McDonnell%20to%20President%20on%20debt%20ceiling%2007-20-11.pdf

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  • Gilmer

    Kick rocks, Moran.

  • internet tourettes

    Has any one heard any rational numbers regarding the effect of Sequestration on northern Virginia. I believe that the 200K number is the projected statewide impact which would include newport news which is, for the most part, totally dependent on defense spending? Also, if I remember correctly, Clinton brought down defense spending during his term, does anyone remember how arlington did during the last drawdown?

    Thanks in advance for any intellegent and insightful answers.

    • Gilmer

      It’s not going to happen, it’s just people posturing to be able to claim that they were the ones who saved the government.

      • Ballston

        That’s the reassuring thing. No one wants it to happen (except a few goofy Representatives from fly over country). It will be just like the debt ceiling debacle. We’ll go down to the last minute and they’ll avoid it.

        • WeiQiang

          In the meantime, all the gov’t workers at potentially affected agencies (which is likely all of them) and all the potentially affected industries (financial & defense, among others) are spending your money to mitigate the damage from an avoidable event. Everyone is spending OUR MONEY and not producing anything, except producing plans for sequestration. If sequestration doesn’t happen, all the sequetration planning costs are sunk AND everyone goes back to what they were working on before … and we’ve lost months of productivity.

          • DCBuff

            Wei, that, at least for my agency, is entirely inaccurate. We are producing a great deal that benefits the economy, and no one at the working level is producing plans for sequestration.

          • WeiQiang

            Thanks. Good to know. My perspective is primarly the department that consumes about 15% of the US budget and is a main subject of the sequestration. I know that OMB is running drill after drill with all the departments … not to mention the defense industry churning to

            Now, all we have to do is lean out your agency and the defense enterprise by 15% and we’ll have this debt thing sorted out … presuming we can halt the decline in real wages.

          • WeiQiang

            … churning to show how painful sequestration will be.

            Now, all …

          • Quoth the Raven

            I love how you keep saying “defense enterprise”. Don’t you mean “military industrial complex”? That sounds a lot cooler.

          • WeiQiang

            A. MIC is old-school, brah.

            B. I’m just trying to put a fresh face on an old problem without being partisan, so people might try to tackle the problem. The defense gov’t bureaucracy can’t manage its way out of higher costs … they hire all the top-tier consulting firms and FFRDCs (both staffed with former defense folks) who get paid big bucks and who come up with “solutions” that cannot be implemented. Def industry just hires the senior defense guys who didn’t go to top-tier consulting firms, to influence the guys who replaced them.

            I will try to be cooler going forward.

          • Quoth the Raven

            Cooler is always better!

            I think the problem has to be looked at differently than some other problems, though. Although the defense industry is huge, the quote “all politics are local” is very much the case here. Nowhere will you see more bipartisanship than when DoD suggests moving/closing a facility. That’s why BRAC is always such a horrible brawl. Take a look at when Navy tried to move an aircraft carrier to FL. Webb/Forbes, etc all went nutso/ b/c how dare DoD move all that money out of their state! So Jim’s “The GOP should just fix it” is overly simplistic.

  • jackson

    So everyone is against it and each side is blaming the other if it actually happens?

    Sounds about right.

    Our defense spending is insane, both as a percentage of the total budget and compared to other nations. Cuts are needed, and it’s too bad so many people and communities have become completely dependent on defense spending continuing unabated for eternity.

    • justin

      I completely agree. We could double the defense cuts being proposed and that part of the budget would still be bloated.

      • Captain_Obvious

        And then what will you say when another attack happens in the US ??

        • speonjosh

          Huh? How do aircraft carriers and stealth bombers prevent terrorist attacks?

          • jackson

            Exactly. How many nuclear subs did it take to prevent the September 11th attacks? Don’t fight bigger, fight smarter.

          • Captain_Obvious

            I’m just saying we don’t know the exact cuts till they happen and the weapons may not be the only thing that gets cut. All agencies are trying to make cuts wherever they can.

          • WL95

            The military does a lot more than deterrence.

          • Spend Like There Is No Tomorrow

            Yeah, they spend an incomprehensible amount of money every day and scream like school kids when anyone suggests cutting the amount they receive.

    • internet tourettes

      Sounds like the 47%….

    • Rosslyn

      But you see no problem with any other kind of spending continuing unabated for eternity? You seem unaware of the fact that this entire area is dependent upon the government?

      What is ideal? 60-70% tax rates and we’ll turn this area into a giant social welfare industrial complex where everyone who works here can live in relative luxury and have their pick of behemoth government agencies or NGOs devoted to nothing other than ensuring everyone gets “their fair share”.

      • jackson

        Are you addressing me? I am very aware that this entire area is dependent on the government. I said “it’s too bad so many people and communities have become completely dependent on defense spending…”

        Look here: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258

        Where can we make cuts?

        20% of the budget is defense spending.
        20% is Social Security
        20% is Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP
        About 13% on “Safety net programs”
        6% is interest payments on the national debt
        (“The remaining fifth of federal spending goes to support a wide variety of other public services. These include providing health care and other benefits to veterans and retirement benefits to retired federal employees, assuring safe food and drugs, protecting the environment, and investing in education, scientific and medical research, and basic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and airports.)

    • JimPB

      What’s been missing is:

      1. What missions we THE American people want our military to fulfill.

      2. The personnel (and skills), equipment, supplies and other support required for each mission.

      3. The cost of each mission.

      (With possible revisions of 1 (and down) after considering the costs.)

  • I Don’t Understand

    Let me get this straight… some Congressmen are asking the Governor to ask Congress to do something?

    • Malaka

      Democrats asking Republicans to wake the F up.

  • JimPB

    The sequester was spawned by the GOP, so let the Republicans come up with an alternative that will pass the House and the Senate and that the President will sign.

    • WeiQiang

      C’mon. This is like asking kids to figure out how to make their school day more educational. Answer: More recess and ice cream.

      This is a tough fight that Americans should educate themselves about. Regrettably, I’m not banking on it. The defense enterprise (gov’t and industry) is rife with perverse and contradictory incentives that make it as bureaucratic and inefficient as possible. The defense enterprise could reduce its costs [to the taxpayer] by 15%-20% (as other sanely incentivized industries worldwide have done) without any decrease in capability and – being leaner – could actually increase capability. The acquisition & production costs alone could be reduced by up to 30%. Reducing active warfighting manpower would provide the largest reductions over time. The military already knows how it would change its ‘large maneuver force’ strategy to a smaller focused-force strategy. We just need our Congressmen to stop calling a rational transition to a 21st-century warfighting and business strategy “cuts” to defense.

      • But…..

        Sounds like you live around D.C. !!!

  • Lovingtheturmoil

    As a small business owner, born and raised in NoVA, I hope this happens. This goes beyond any idealogy of any particular party…it exposes the absolute garbage quality elected officials (both D and R) that we as a nation vote into power. My govt worker friends look at me like I’m crazy when I say Americans need another great depression complete with food lines and gas rations. We need to relearn the lessons of Self reliance and govt policy based on reality and common sense not entitlement and political correctness.

    • drax

      Wow, you’re scary. Good luck with that self-reliance thing when your business tanks and it means fishing rotten food out of garbage cans.

      • Lovingtheturmoil

        Family owned and operated for almost 75 years with interests in many different things to include farming. Thank God I know how to grow some food…the only thing that will be tanking is your job, retirement, and benefits…Good luck!

        • jackson

          Ah, so you sell guns, cigarettes and porn. You’ll be fine in the zombie apocalypse!

          • Who Knew That

            Who knew that zombies liked porn, smoking and booze……I thought that they were immune to such temptations !!

            Now brains, that is a different matter…

      • Hollywood

        We’ll all be doing this if we don’t start to control our spending…

    • WeiQiang

      You had me until the last sentence. If you think a catastrophic economic event will enable a rational transition to a more efficient and effective government or that industries would magically not require effective oversight and also would magically become more productive and efficient, you are mistaken.

      This whole sequestration evolution demonstrates precisely how unqualified Congress is to do the jobs we’ve elected them to do and can be extrapolated to show how existentially bad “letting the whole pile implode” would be. If there was some core group of Congresspersons who could understand, develop and sell a plan to lean out an effective government that provides oversight and manages entitlements that are gradually reduced over the long-term, I’d say we have a chance. But, preparing for sequestration requires the spending of tax dollars that don’t produce anything and, gawd forbid, sequestration itself will require disastrous inefficiencies … all of which we will pay for. Congress needs to do their job … balance and compromise. This bi-polar crowd on Capitol Hill now isn’t qualified to get that done.

  • Arlwhenver

    Spurious claims again. Actually, if the math in the letter is valid, Obama’s stimulus package would have produced something like 7,000,000 jobs (35 times as much money times 200,000). The Virginia Democrat Congressional delegation is a collection of dullards and phoney posers — not a working intellect among them.

    • drax

      Sequestration will have a larger impact on Virginia than the average state, so you can’t compare it to the stimulus that way.

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