Over the course of the week, Patch has outlined just a handful of the many departments in Montgomery County that may be impacted should sequester go into action. If Congress does nothing to change it, the automatic budget cuts will begin officially Thursday at midnight.
With just a few more hours on the clock, a compromise is not likely. Pennsylvania politicians sure have their doubts.
"I'm not sure the federal government has demonstrated it's qualified to teach financial literacy," said U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey during a conference call Wednesday.
“The report confirms what we knew all along,” Schwartz said. “If Republicans continue to reject a balanced approach to deficit reduction, which includes spending cuts, new revenue, and economic growth to protect our nation’s economic recovery, we will not create the right environment for long-term growth by investing in our domestic priorities.”
She worries change may not come quickly enough.
“Republicans must reject their partisan, one-sided approach and be willing to find common ground solutions to deficit reduction,” Schwartz said. “To ensure America's future prosperity and growth, we must restore confidence in our capacity to reach agreement, strengthen the middle class and create an environment in which the private sector can thrive. We have not yet seen the Republican leadership in the House be willing to engage in that kind of serious deficit reduction conversation that takes a balanced approach, respects our obligation to Americans and creates certainty for our families and businesses.”
What impact does it have on Pennsylvania residents? According to a release from Schwartz, there a lot of ways citizens will notice the change.
“Young children will be hurt by these cuts,” said Sharon Easterling, Executive Director, Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children. “In Pennsylvania, the statewide waiting list for child care subsidy will grow from 6,500 to over 11,000 children and at least 2,300 Head Start children would lose service almost immediately. This is bad for children and families, and undercuts our efforts to close the achievement gap for at-risk children.”
The local economy may suffer, with continued job losses.
“Sequestration will affect 2,000 Department of the Navy civilian jobs at three Navy commands located at the Philadelphia Naval Business Center. This will greatly affect the technical support these positions provide to the U.S. Navy around the world,” said John Garrity, President of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 3.
According to Politico.com, “many Republicans now support the sequester cuts as a way for the government to tighten its belt, barring any better budget-reduction plan.”
Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, has co-sponsored a bill to “soften the blow of sequester,” according to the Post Gazette.
He said the proposed bill he is sponsoring will help give decision-making power back to the administrators that deserve it.
“"[Sequester] gives no discretion to the managers of the agencies or the administration—or anyone, for that matter—to decide which of these programs has greater importance, greater urgency than another," Toomey said to the Post Gazette. "There are any number of contrasts and comparisons you could make, but—in my view—a government subsidy to Solyndra wouldn't be as high a priority as maintaining air-traffic controllers."
For the full report on Toomey’s response to sequestration, visit this Patch article.