As America braces for austerity, Congress goes home for the weekend.
After two failed attempts to prevent the sequester on Thursday, Congress gave up efforts to stop the austerity measures, and head out of town for the weekend. Yesterday, one day before the deadline, two rival bills to prevent the $85 billion in spending cuts failed to get Senate approval. The Republicans only got 38 votes on a bill that would have forced President Obama to manage the spending cuts, and Democrats got 51 votes for a bill that would have replaced the sequester with $55 billion in spending cuts and $55 billion in new revenues. And the Progressive Caucus' Balancing Act approach wasn't even considered, despite a recent Business Insider poll that showed bipartisan voter support for the plan.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said no agreement can be reached without additional tax revenues, and he believes the Republicans want the Sequester to happen. He said, “we cannot solve the problems of this country with cuts, cuts, cuts. We've cut $2.6 trillion. We need to do more, but we're going to do it in a balanced approach.” But Republicans refuse to accept any plan that includes new revenues. So for now, our country must brace for the drastic cuts about to kick in, which will wreak havoc on our economy.
Democrats will attempt to undo the sequester in the upcoming budget resolution at the end of the month, but by then many of the Republican austerity measures will have already begun. And if Republicans don't back down on tax increases, there's little chance a replacement plan will be accepted. Now it's up to us to let Congress know that we won't stand by while Republicans use our economy to play political blame games with the President.
Call Congress today and tell them to stop these insane austerity measures now!