Senate Democrats

Reid: Reverse Sequester to Create Jobs

“The sequester is as bad for national security as it is for the economy… But it’s not too late to reverse these hard-hearted cuts.”

“Democrats haven’t given up on reversing these cuts and choosing that responsible path. We’ve cut the deficit in half over the last three years. And while there is more work to be done, we should be making targeted cuts while investing in the things that make America grow.”

“The American economy is poised to grow. All we have to do is get out of the way. According to a report released last week by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, reversing the sequester would create 900,000 jobs. And it would increase gross domestic product by nearly a percentage point.”

Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding the devastating effects the sequester will continue to have on American job growth. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Every respectable economist has said that the short-sighted, arbitrary cuts known as the sequester will cost American jobs.

Medical researchers also say these painful cuts will set their work back decades – potentially costing the world a cure for AIDS, cancer or the flu.

We know the sequester will cost us investments in education that give children a shot at success and keep American workers competitive. We also know the sequester will slash the safety net that keeps millions of senior citizens, children, veterans and low-income families from descending into poverty.

And we know the sequester is bad as for national security as it is for the economy. These cuts have grounded a third of U.S. combat aircraft, slashed troop training budgets and kept an aircraft carrier that should have been headed for the Persian Gulf stranded in port instead. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of civilian employees of the Department of Defense – employees who support military missions carried out by service members overseas – have been furloughed.

But it’s not too late to reverse these hard-hearted cuts – cuts that were never supposed to take effect in the first place. The sequester was designed to be so painful it would force Democrats and Republicans to compromise, and find a smart, responsible way to reduce the deficit.

Democrats haven’t given up on reversing these cuts and choosing that responsible path. We’ve cut the deficit in half over the last three years. And while there is more work to be done, we should be making targeted cuts while investing in the things that make America grow.

The way to pursue this type of sound fiscal policy is through the regular order of the budget process.

The American economy is poised to grow. All we have to do is get out of the way. According to a report released last week by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, reversing the sequester would create 900,000 jobs. And it would increase gross domestic product by nearly a percentage point.

The United States just dug its way out of the Great Recession. We have seen 40 straight months of job growth, with private-sector employers adding more than 7.2 million jobs in all. But we cannot afford to reject almost a million new jobs.

Congress must reverse the sequester and stop manufacturing crises. If Republicans force us to the brink of another government shutdown for ideological reasons, the economy will suffer. If Republicans threaten a catastrophic default on the nation’s bills the economy will suffer. And if Republicans refuse to work with Democrats to negotiate a reasonable budget that reverses the deep cuts of the sequester, the economy will suffer. It is time to remove the stumbling blocks that are preventing the American economy from recovering and expanding.

It has been 128 days since the Senate passed its reasonable, pro-growth budget. Democrats have asked unanimous consent to conference with the House on the budget 17 times. But as long as Senate Republicans refuse to allow Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray to negotiate a budget compromise with her House Republican counterparts the economy is at risk.

It’s time to set aside partisan differences and work to find common ground. Passing the bipartisan transportation appropriations bill would be a good step towards restoring regular order. This measure will create jobs rebuilding America’s deficient infrastructure and renew the nation’s commitment to make affordable housing available to low-income families.

I commend our Appropriations Committee Leaders Barbara Mikulski and Patty Murray for their work on this bill. I believe some of my Republican colleagues are as eager to return to the regular order of passing appropriations bill as I am. And I hope those reasonable Republicans will continue to work with Democrats to advance this important, bipartisan measure.

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