Sequestration: We Have a Choice

Senator Cardin is a member of four Senate committees: Environment & Public Works, Finance, Foreign Relations, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Twitter @SenatorCardin.

On March 1, automatic, across-the-board spending cuts will begin to take effect, cutting $1.2 trillion from defense and non-defense programs over the next 10 years. These automatic cuts are known as sequestration and they will have a devastating effect on millions of Americans.  

If Congress fails to act to reduce our budget deficit by March 1st, sequestration will result in a meat ax approach to reducing our deficit. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, sequestration for FY2013 alone will require across-the-board cuts of approximately $42.7 billion in defense and another $42.7 billion in non-defense spending.  Instead of sequestration, we need to develop a fair and comprehensive deficit reduction plan that is based on our nation’s needs. 

Sequestration is not just about numbers. If it occurs, it will take a terrible toll on millions of Americans. Sequestration will force indiscriminate cuts in defense, education, food safety, medical research, law enforcement, job training and agricultural programs, among many others.   

Today, Maryland has 60 non-military federal facilities and 17 military facilities, and more than 300,000 Marylanders work for the federal government in both civilian and military jobs. Our state is particularly vulnerable to sequestration.  In fact, the Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates projects that sequestration could mean a loss of 12,600 jobs resulting in a reduction of Maryland’s wage and salary base by $2.5 billion

Few people realize how much states and local governments depend on federal funding for education.  The Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates projects that our state could lose $55 million in education funding in the next year. Such severe cuts could mean as many as 900 children would be unable to enroll in Head Start and we could lose 500 teachers, along with many other serious cuts to educational programs.

I have met with federal employees from across the state and there is great alarm at the thought of sequestration -- not just because of a loss of wages, but because Americans depend on what our federal workers do.  From issuing Social Security checks to overseeing our National Park system to processing passports to conducting medical research and to ensuring our food and drugs are safe, federal workers are dedicated to our nation.

We can avoid sequestration, but we must act now.  In 2011, we took significant steps to cut spending when we passed the Budget Control Act, reducing spending by $1.5 trillion.  In January, we achieved approximately $600 billion in additional revenue when we passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA).  We are two-thirds of the way there. 

But, we still need approximately $1.4 trillion in deficit reduction, which I believe is achievable. Instead of sequestration, we need a balanced approach that includes both increased revenues and decreased spending.  

On the revenue side, let’s end tax preferences for the oil and gas industries, limit itemized deductions for wealthier families and close tax loopholes that allow some to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.  On the spending side, we need to bring down health care costs, which will create significant savings. We also should count significant reductions in spending as we withdraw our troops from Afghanistan and reorganize our military to better face the threat of terrorism.

The American people are tired of these budget showdowns and stopgap measures.  We need to develop comprehensive and fair solutions that will solve our long-term deficit problems, but we can only accomplish that if we work together in the spirit of mutual respect and compromise.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sean Tully March 05, 2013 at 02:52 AM
Sanchez, what are you talking about? I do blame the Tea Party for the bottleneck government we now have. Have I not that right?
FIFA March 05, 2013 at 03:19 AM
Chris, where is your outrage about our corporate welfare? You only point at people on welfare. They are a tiny compared to the wealthy and corporate welfare our country gives out every day. Why are you not jumping up and down on the big part of the problem, but instead you go after those with nothing?
Chris W March 05, 2013 at 04:13 AM
I have spoken about both. Recently. I am against all types of govt hand outs. Corporate or otherwise. Limited foreign aid as well.
Chris W March 06, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Capitulation is not compromise. "We won, you lost" - President Obama
Sanchez March 06, 2013 at 05:24 PM
1ke, I bet you been out lurking in the bushes at bus stops looking for little boys.
1ke March 06, 2013 at 06:22 PM
For you it always gets back to pedophilia, doesn't it, JoeBlob? It must be the residue of a childhood trauma. You pitiful, unfortunate man!
Sanchez March 06, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Ahh, 1ke does not like having his nagger ways returned does he? ignorant bastard!
Buck Harmon March 06, 2013 at 06:26 PM
DR BEN CARSON PRESIDENT....DONALD TRUMP VICE PRESIDENT...problems will begin to be solved for a change....
Buck Harmon March 06, 2013 at 06:28 PM
THE CARSON TRUMP TICKET....think about the possibilities..)
Sanchez March 06, 2013 at 06:35 PM
Yes Sean, you have the right to blame those who are not to blame. you have the right to show your hate toward others. all in your rights. I do find it odd that you blame such a small group of people out of the 536 who are responsible. and hols blameless those who control 2/3 of government. i find that quite radical and extreme.
1ke March 06, 2013 at 06:36 PM
You post as if you were a filthy, impotent little man.
Maryellen Brady March 06, 2013 at 07:52 PM
They were congnizant of the reputation of the US as a world leader. Cardin and mikulski cared more about the fact that the nations credit rating was in jeopardy, put their deliberately by GOP malfeasance. The GOP fiscal policies are disastrous, when have they ever been successful? Reagan ran the deficit, Clinton with democratic bi partisanship created a surplus, BUSH gave it away and then started 2 wars not paid for. Iraq was going to pay for itsliberation from OIL revenues, it did not. Halliburtan (Cheneys co) made millions and shoddy work killed AM soldiers taking showers. USPS in danger by created GOP misuse of fiscal policies. MI is a defunct democracy because of GOP policies awarding absolute powers to an individual over towns and cities. Proving that democracy really doesnt work, if all people are considered. Mikulski and Cardin like democracy, they serve all and they care about next generation. Something GOP doesnt understand or care about.
Maryellen Brady March 06, 2013 at 07:55 PM
There were plenty of sound fiscal solutions to the problems facing this nation presented by President Obama and promoted by the DEMS. It was the broken SENATE with GOP abuse of filibuster that stopped real progress. GOP has offered up NO responsible fiscal solutions to nations probs. They ran on jobs in 2010 and promoted 31 anti abortion bills as their solutions to job creating.
Chris W March 06, 2013 at 08:01 PM
ID rather not. Trump is a pompous tool.
Sanchez March 06, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Projecting your own ED problem on others 1ke? Why are you such a vile nagger?
Maryellen Brady March 06, 2013 at 08:06 PM
Jesus said: the most direct pathway to hell is to follow the rich man. Someone here would suggest that Donald Trump who has declared bankruptcy several times in his career, destroying the lives and stealing the money of investors and then moving onward unscathed. He is a failed human being whose value system is dominated by self preservation and worship of wealth. He has done nothing to improve the lives of others. He has done nothing to make democracy stronger or to enhance US reputation elsewhere in world. The frivolous suggestion that he has answers is a clear indication of surrender to GOP hate and bigotry. Roman empire lost its democracy to those rich folk who lusted power and wealth. They killed a thriving society to enrich themselves.
David Maier March 06, 2013 at 09:09 PM
Maryellen Brady, I need to call you on your quote of Jesus. I could not find it. I tried on BibleGateway.com but No luck. I search various versions but again No luck. This is the message that was displayed :[Search Limited to: from Genesis to Revelation] [Remove Limit] No results found. Match whole words only Search for the most direct pathway to hell is to follow the rich man in Topical Index | Dictionary Display : Sort by No results found. No results were found for the most direct pathway to hell is to follow the rich man in the version(s):Common English Bible. Try refining your search using the form above. I think you will find it says something to the effect of - - It is the Love of Money that is the ROOT of All kinds of Evil - - I placed the emphasis in the wording Should be 1 Tim 6:10. Could we back off the Rich are Evil. I know some Poor People that are Evil and I know some everyday kind of people where I don't know their economic situation that I would call evil. I know evil exists and it comes in all varieties.
1ke March 06, 2013 at 09:18 PM
I find it amazing that you turn my every word, phrase or idea into some hallucinated, sexualized, macho combat. First, it was pedophilia and, then, erectile dysfunction. People without you affliction would presume that the word "impotent" referred to the state of being powerless or characterized by an inability to effect a desired outcome. But, not you. No! You, sir, are a guttersnipe. Do everyone a favor and delete your filth.
Buck Harmon March 06, 2013 at 09:37 PM
We need a tool to straighten this mess out...he would be one of the real tools that the sleeping public would wake up to....think about it... We are currently being ruled by fool tools.... and the sheep that flock toward the cliff..
Buck Harmon March 06, 2013 at 09:40 PM
You need to look at the other part of the team that I chose Maryellen...Ben Carson for President....Trump, VP....What a team of balance!!
Sanchez March 06, 2013 at 10:02 PM
A MUST watch video with a local Congressman questioning the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden, in a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing. Disgusting libs who pushed the end of the world. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cKbMhr-cfh8
Steve March 06, 2013 at 10:33 PM
LOL A Andy "Where's My Insurance" Harris video? For real?????
Maryellen Brady March 06, 2013 at 10:33 PM
If it is "Easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to get into heaven", it is self revealing that following a rich man is not the way to get into heaven. The only other place, that we know about, is hell. Thus follow the rich man to hell. Jesus said it. Mark -10:25, Matthew-19:24.
Sanchez March 06, 2013 at 11:11 PM
No Steve, its not real. Its fake because its on youtube and we can see it and hear it. If you had an open mind you too could see and hear it. It is not Harris who is the subject of the video but the fine Doctor who heads the CDC. Its a shame Steve you are so closed minded.
Steve March 06, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Does anybody really take Harris and his band of Frat Boys seriously?
Sanchez March 06, 2013 at 11:23 PM
"Someone here would suggest that Donald Trump who has declared bankruptcy several times in his career, destroying the lives... " Really? You keep repeating that and for what reason? Have you ever claimed bankruptcy? If not why not? Never started a business? Never made a payroll when you didn't get paid? Anyone like Trump, regardless of your emotional misgivings for him, who start many businesses are for sure going to fail at times. How is that to be held AGAINST him? Do you have any idea what HIS payroll is? How many people rely on a job in his many businesses today? "ruined lives"? SO emotional and flat out wrong. Everyone has lost a job or 10. Their lives are disrupted many times but not "destroyed". "stealing the money of investors"??? That is an allegation that you make of whole cloth. How? Ponzi and Milken and and others did, not Trump. His investors know the risks and for you to say that savvy millionaire investors are somehow naive and being robbed by Trump is absurd. You rhetoric makes me think you have spent many evenings in parks and held signs up with some anti establishment messages. Are you an Occupooper?
hawkeye March 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM
Steve: I take Harris seriously. At least he's not a lifetime politician like Cardin and Mikulski and is a self-made man. His parents, having both immigrated from Communist countries, were not wealthy people. The fact he went to college and medical school is, like Dr. Ben Carson, an American success story. Why is it that Democrats want to crap on that? Because it doesn't fit with the typical "Republican" rhetoric that they espouse. Liberals cannot believe that Republicans are actually decent people.
1ke March 07, 2013 at 12:54 AM
Ask the people of the Eastern Shore, who were silly enough to vote for him, about his decency.
Steve March 07, 2013 at 03:35 AM
Harris is a Veteran, but yet he couldn't get the endorsement from the VFW. His staff was busted plying an underage girl with alcohol.
Tammy Doring March 07, 2013 at 01:28 PM
All this "hair on fire crisis" over a 2% DECREASE in the proposed INCREASE of spending! Only in Washington can this be called a cut. So now we have sequestration and the President is determined to make it as painful as possible then blame Republicans. i.e. Department of Agriculture memo re: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Official Charles Brown said he asked if he could try to spread out the sequester cuts in his region to minimize the impact, and he said he was told not to do anything that would lessen the dire impacts Congress had been warned of. (Washington Times) And the silly games with cancelling White House tours borders on juvenile. (How much does a self guided tour cost?) It's time to elect men and women who are serious about governing, not their own political power. Sadly, I don't see this happening in the near future.


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