In the last two weeks, I've heard two very different stories about sequestration. In Washington, D.C., some of my colleagues have said that since sequestration is going into effect and the world hasn't ended, it's best to sweep this under the rug and move on. But as is often the case, I heard a very different story from the families and communities I represent in Washington state.
In Washington state I spoke with constituents who can't just accept sequestration as the status quo, because it's having real and in many cases devastating effects. Military families, who are already giving so much, are concerned about cuts at their children's elementary schools. Head Start centers are accepting fewer young students. Workers are facing deep pay cuts, furloughs, and layoffs.
I know that my fellow elected leaders are hearing about similar struggles. As the Huffington Post reported last week, there are stories across the country of job cuts, smaller paychecks, and painful reductions in services that protect our most vulnerable families and seniors and maintain our national defense.
These hardships affect us all. When families and communities are hurting, our whole economy is weaker. A household with one less breadwinner or a smaller paycheck has less to spend at local restaurants and stores. With fewer customers, business owners are slower to hire -- and may have to let employees go.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that sequestration would lower employment by 750,000 jobs this year alone. That's more than just a big number. It's a threat to well-being and opportunity for families across the country. And especially when so many are still fighting to get back on their feet, it's unacceptable.
Democrats and Republicans agree that the arbitrary cuts in sequestration are the wrong approach to deficit reduction. Sequestration was never intended to go into effect--it was intended to motivate compromise. That's why I, and so many others, remain committed to responsibly replacing these automatic cuts.
This past month the Senate passed a budget resolution that lays out a responsible path to reducing our deficits and debt while prioritizing getting more Americans back to work and protecting our fragile economic recovery. One of the most important ways the Senate Budget accomplishes this goal is by drawing on the precedent set in the year-end deal to fully replace sequestration in a balanced and fair way.
Like the year-end deal, which 40 Republicans in the Senate and 85 Republicans in the House voted for, the Senate Budget would replace half of sequestration with responsible spending cuts, and half with new revenues from the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations.
This is a balanced and fair approach, and it meets halfway the Republicans who resist raising any more revenue from the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations. I hope that this time, faced with the effects that far too many middle class families across the country are experiencing, Republicans will join us at the table ready to compromise.
I will continue working to keep a responsible replacement for sequestration at the forefront of the debate about our fiscal challenges. But I will need your help.
Parents, seniors, business owners, and workers are already sharing experiences with their elected leaders that make it clear sequestration must be replaced. And these stories are changing the one that's being told in Washington, D.C.
I'm asking you to help me keep the pressure on those who would prefer to let sequestration remain in effect.
You can share stories about how sequestration has impacted you, your family and your community at MyBudget, an online platform for members of the public to engage with the Senate Budget Committee.
Together, we can ensure that Americans who are looking to Washington, D.C. for a solution to sequestration have their voices heard. We can work to secure a responsible replacement, end the harmful cycle of governing by crisis, and agree on a comprehensive, fair and bipartisan budget deal that puts American families and our economy first.