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Wed Feb 6, 2013, 06:41 PM

Progressive Caucus Leaders Introduce Measure to Replace Sequester and Create Jobs

Ten members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, led by Co-Chairs Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), introduced The Balancing Act this afternoon, which cancels the across the board “sequester” budget cuts, achieves a fair and balanced approach to long-term deficit reduction and creates 1 million jobs all over the country. Since 2011, budget deals in Washington have let wealthy corporations and the Pentagon off the hook while cutting more than $1.7 trillion from programs America’s working families need to survive. The Balancing Act brings relief to working Americans by making sure the Pentagon and the nation’s biggest corporations pitch in and do their part to get our economy working again.

The Balancing Act has two major components. It eliminates the impending “sequester” cuts and replaces them with an equal amount of revenue by closing corporate and individual tax loopholes. This creates the equal overall cuts-to-revenue balance when looking at the budget beginning in 2011, when the Budget Control Act was passed. The bill also cuts approximately $300 billion from wasteful Pentagon spending and reinvests the money in job creation. The bill is expected to create more than 1 million jobs by investing in infrastructure, teachers, and putting money in consumers’ pockets.

“Every American family knows you don’t use your children’s lunch money to pay down credit cards,” Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) said. “This bill is different from the Republican approach—it asks everyone to do their fair share, grows jobs and keeps our promise to children, the elderly, and the poor.”

“With a combination of budget cuts and revenue increases, the Balancing Act will protect American families from the worst effects of sequestration, reduce the long-term budget deficit, and create more than one million jobs,” Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) said. “We need to protect the programs – from Medicaid to veterans’ benefits to federal aid for education – on which every member of our civil society depends, and continue our investments in education and infrastructure.”


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Response to pampango (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:03 PM

1. Well defense cuts are coming out of soldier pay and federal defense employee furloughs.


Yay for defense cuts right?

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:11 PM

2. We should be re-training our soldiers to do something else

Our military is too big. We do need to scale it down. Even the Pentagon knows this. This doesn't mean our soldiers should suffer. We need to invest in them and find them education and employment opportunities. I know here in WA there are tax breaks for companies that hire veterans. We need more programs like this and others so that we can make necessary cuts to defense. Also if we cut down expenses maybe we can actually afford to give our soldiers proper medical care when they come home. Right now we spend so much money on war that we can't afford to treat our soldiers when they come home.

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Response to dkf (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:19 PM

3. Military pay is exempt from this sequestration, commonly known as the 'fiscal cliff'.

And yes, yay for defense cuts.

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Response to Lasher (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:22 PM

4. Then what was Panetta just blathering on about?


Because he was just on TV saying this.

Here is CNN's report.


Just days before he leaves office, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is recommending military pay be limited, effectively decreasing troop salaries next year.

Panetta will recommend to Congress that military salaries be limited to a 1% increase in 2014. The Pentagon has calculated that the Labor Department’s 2014 Employment Cost Index is expected to be above 1% but wants to still cut back on pay because of “budget uncertainties,” a department official told CNN. In 2013, a 1.7% increase was approved, based on the index, which has been the basis for military pay for the last several years.

Three Pentagon officials have confirmed details of the plan to CNN. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have also agreed to Panetta’s proposed pay plan. Final approval for the pay would come from Congress in the form of the 2014 budget.

The defense secretary outlined a series of possible cuts should the Pentagon be forced to find half a trillion dollars more in savings. He warned that 800,000 civilian workers could furloughed for 22 days and that the Army would need to cut back on training and maintenance, putting two-thirds of combat teams at “reduced readiness levels.” Pacific naval operations could be cut by as much a third, and Air Force flying hours and weapons maintenance could be cut.

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Response to dkf (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:22 PM

5. Looks like he's trying to salvage war spending at soldiers' expense.

The WH sequestration report says that “military personnel accounts” will be exempt from any sequestration cuts. Does this cover all personnel related programs like tuition assistance, housing, and family support programs?

ANSWER: Military Pay (including PCS and Subsistence) is exempt under the President’s sequestration exemption. Programs such as TRICARE, tuition assistance and family support programs are not exempt and do fall under sequestration.


If the 'fiscal cliff' sequestration (AKA The Budget Control Act of 2011) already included military pay cuts, then Panetta wouldn't have to lobby for them, would he? Panetta and Gates have been whining for years about how we're all going to die if the bloated Pentagon budget is cut even one nickel.

That's my take on it. This is pretty sinister - keeping the war spending going by cutting soldiers' salaries. But if sequestration goes through without such a change, military pay would not be affected - just as I said.

Sequestration - CNBC Explains

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Response to Lasher (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:28 PM

6. He can't do anything if congress keeps its pork defense projects and expects cuts.


So no it's not a bluff.

And I don't think this is part of sequestration. These are cuts already approved iirc.

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