A group of three Republicans and three Democrats told Senate leaders that they are willing to lead the charge against the budget sequestration set to go into effect in early January.
“We believe it is imperative to enact a bipartisan deficit reduction package to avoid the severe economic damage that would result from the implementation of sequestration,” Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) wrote to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “Any deficit reduction package should be long term and should provide as much certainty as possible for businesses and consumers.”
The Senate left for the campaign recess without addressing the sequestration, leaving for the lame-duck session resolution of the deep cuts put into action by failure of the deficit-reduction supercommittee to reach agreement.
The Congressional Budget Office has warned sequestration in combination with the expiration of current tax policy could send the economy back into a recession and raise unemployment above 9 percent. About 2 million jobs in defense and other sectors are in jeopardy because of the cuts.
“Based on this, we are committed to working together to help forge a balanced bipartisan deficit reduction package to avoid damage to our national security, important domestic priorities, and our economy,” the senators wrote.
“Sequestration will endanger the lives of America’s service members, threaten our national security, and impact vital domestic programs and services. Meeting this challenge will require real compromise, and we do not believe that Congress and the president can afford to wait until January to begin to develop a short term or long term sequestration alternative. All ideas should be put on the table and considered. Accordingly, we urge you to press between now and November the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation to score any bipartisan proposals forwarded to them so that Congress may evaluate these plans.”