Reply from Representative Scott

(This is in reply to a Letter to My Representatives in Congress.)

Dear Rev. Millard:

Thank you for contacting me to express your concern regarding the effects of the automatic across-the-board spending cuts put in place by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the furloughs that are now taking place due to this law.  I appreciate you apprising me of your views on this issue.  As you may know, the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) was signed into law on August 2, 2011.  In addition to including a mechanism to increase the nation’s debt ceiling, the BCA set annual caps on discretionary spending over the next decade, producing approximately $1 trillion in savings, and established the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (commonly referred to as the “Super Committee”) tasked with finding an additional $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction.  If the Super Committee failed to submit a plan by November 2011, then automatic across-the-board spending cuts, totaling approximately $1.2 trillion over the next decade, would be implemented through a process known as “sequestration” beginning January 2, 2013.  The Super Committee ultimately failed to submit a plan which triggered the sequestration process, unless Congress canceled or delayed the sequester.

On January 1, 2013, Congress passed H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act, also known as the “Fiscal Cliff Deal”, which extended tax cuts at a cost of $3.9 trillion, while regrettably only delaying sequestration until March 1, 2013.  Unfortunately Congress has not taken any further action to delay or cancel sequestration, and, as a result, these across-the-board spending cuts are now being implemented.  With few exceptions, sequestration impacts the budget of every federal department, agency and program, including the Department of Defense, NASA, job training programs, Head Start, the FBI, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  In order to implement the budget cuts, these federal entities essentially must either fire 10% of their workers or pay their workers 10% less through unpaid furloughs.  This obviously will severely disrupt the important work they do on behalf of the nation.

I voted against the Budget Control Act because I was concerned about the impact spending cuts of this magnitude would have on the nation.  I also voted against the American Taxpayer Relief Act because it both added $3.9 trillion to the deficit over the next decade by extending tax cuts and at the same time failed to address any of the $1.2 trillion sequester.  It is unfortunate that Congress placed a higher priority on extending tax cuts than on canceling the sequester.  Now the nation and the federal workforce are suffering because of this misplaced priority.  Unfortunately, this predicament was predictable, because Congress has repeatedly focused on extending costly tax cuts without addressing the federal budget as a whole.  I remain committed to urging my colleagues to revisit these ill advised policies, so that we can responsibly reduce our budget deficit without cutting investments in our nation’s future or dismantling the social safety net.  You can find my statement on the American Taxpayer Relief Act as well as additional statements and press releases on the federal budget by visiting my website, http://bobbyscott.house.gov/.

Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as this issue comes before me.  Please feel free to contact me in the future on other issues which may be of concern to you.

Very truly yours,
Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
Member of Congress

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1 Comment »

  1. […] you can read Representative Scott’s response here and Senator Kaine’s response […]

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