Sequestration

Congressman Jim Matheson
2013-02-28 13:45:19
Congressman Jim Matheson, 4th Congressional District of Utah Dear Friend, At the end of this week, the spending cuts commonly known as sequestration are set to go into effect. I have heard from many of you that it is important for Congress to focus on spending less, and being smarter about our spending priorities.� I agree that something has to be done now to rein in out-of-control spending. That being said, as we look ahead to the sequester, I think we all agree it is not the overall amount of these cuts that are problematic, but the way the cuts are being implemented.� We all know that sequestration is yet another �crisis� that has come about because congressional leadership of both parties has failed to put aside politics and get something done.� Sequestration is happening this week because last year the Super Committee, made up mostly of leadership of both the Republican and Democratic parties, failed in its work to come up with cuts on which they could agree. After the bill that created their Committee cut an initial 917 billion dollars from the federal budget, the Super Committee members were tasked with coming up with another 1.2 trillion of cuts based on consensus and a thoughtful plan forward for our country.� Their failure left me as frustrated as you.� It is unacceptable that we are facing this challenge because 12 Members of Congress threw in the towel and decided it was too hard to work together.� In the 18 months since the Super Committee failed to find compromise, there have been plenty of opportunities for Congress to work toward real solutions.� This time should have been used to have the tough discussions of where to cut, to craft bipartisan legislation in our committees and to bring these ideas to a vote.� Leadership of both parties blocked this from happening, and still this year, refuse to allow members like me, who are willing to work across the aisle, to keep Congress in session so members could work toward solutions.� Again last week, House and Senate leadership sent Congress into recess rather than work together, face-to-face, to find some consensus-driven solutions.� In response, I wrote a letter to the leaders of both parties letting them know that doing nothing is unacceptable to Utahns, urging them to rethink their priorities and make real changes to the schedule. You can read a copy of my letter here: 1.usa.gov/13WXSs3 [link 1] I have heard from so many Utahns that they want elected officials to work together to get things done as opposed to the partisan bickering that too often overwhelms public policy discussions.� Unfortunately, many of my colleagues continue to spend precious time - where we should be working on a solution - playing the �blame game.� That is not productive, and it won�t solve the problems we face of where to cut spending.� It is very unlikely we will see legislation this week that will avert sequestration, but that does not mean things cannot be done next week, and every week and month to follow, to craft the sort of thoughtful cuts the Super Committee failed to do.� I am interested in your thoughts on what programs we should prioritize and where we should cut back.� I am committed, as always to be a problem solver, and work hard to find bipartisan ways we can address our budget problems without blindly slashing programs Utahns care about. Please stay in touch with me, I know there will be many questions about the sequestration process and on the progress to replace it with common sense cuts.� Sincerely, Jim Matheson U.S. Representative 4th District of Utah �
February 28, 2013

Dear Friend,

At the end of this week, the spending cuts commonly known as sequestration are set to go into effect. I have heard from many of you that it is important for Congress to focus on spending less, and being smarter about our spending priorities.  I agree that something has to be done now to rein in out-of-control spending. That being said, as we look ahead to the sequester, I think we all agree it is not the overall amount of these cuts that are problematic, but the way the cuts are being implemented. 

We all know that sequestration is yet another �crisis� that has come about because congressional leadership of both parties has failed to put aside politics and get something done.  Sequestration is happening this week because last year the Super Committee, made up mostly of leadership of both the Republican and Democratic parties, failed in its work to come up with cuts on which they could agree. After the bill that created their Committee cut an initial 917 billion dollars from the federal budget, the Super Committee members were tasked with coming up with another 1.2 trillion of cuts based on consensus and a thoughtful plan forward for our country. 

Their failure left me as frustrated as you.  It is unacceptable that we are facing this challenge because 12 Members of Congress threw in the towel and decided it was too hard to work together. 

In the 18 months since the Super Committee failed to find compromise, there have been plenty of opportunities for Congress to work toward real solutions.  This time should have been used to have the tough discussions of where to cut, to craft bipartisan legislation in our committees and to bring these ideas to a vote.  Leadership of both parties blocked this from happening, and still this year, refuse to allow members like me, who are willing to work across the aisle, to keep Congress in session so members could work toward solutions. 

Again last week, House and Senate leadership sent Congress into recess rather than work together, face-to-face, to find some consensus-driven solutions.  In response, I wrote a letter to the leaders of both parties letting them know that doing nothing is unacceptable to Utahns, urging them to rethink their priorities and make real changes to the schedule. You can read a copy of my letter here: I have heard from so many Utahns that they want elected officials to work together to get things done as opposed to the partisan bickering that too often overwhelms public policy discussions.  Unfortunately, many of my colleagues continue to spend precious time - where we should be working on a solution - playing the �blame game.� That is not productive, and it won�t solve the problems we face of where to cut spending.  It is very unlikely we will see legislation this week that will avert sequestration, but that does not mean things cannot be done next week, and every week and month to follow, to craft the sort of thoughtful cuts the Super Committee failed to do. 

I am interested in your thoughts on what programs we should prioritize and where we should cut back.  I am committed, as always to be a problem solver, and work hard to find bipartisan ways we can address our budget problems without blindly slashing programs Utahns care about.

Please stay in touch with me, I know there will be many questions about the sequestration process and on the progress to replace it with common sense cuts. 

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