Weekly Columns

President Chooses Tax Tour Over Sequester Solutions

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Washington, February 27, 2013 | Tiffany McGuffee (202-226-8072) | comments

While hard-working taxpayers were worrying how the sequester will impact their communities, President Obama spent his Tuesday traveling on Air Force One trying to convince the American people that more tax increases are necessary. I simply cannot understand why the president would continue to play blame-game politics instead of meeting with congressional leaders during this crucial time. Government spending seems to be on everyone’s mind, except the president’s. According to the Congressional Research Service, Air Force One costs taxpayers more than $179,000 per hour. So why would the president opt to fly more than 150 miles instead of just picking up the phone?

Sequestration is an automatic, across-the-board, spending reduction of $85 billion, and that’s just this year alone. This process was proposed by the administration during negotiations over the debt ceiling in 2011, and will affect almost every program that receives federal funding. The White House recently released a more-detailed explanation of how these cuts could affect Tennessee, detailing teacher and law enforcement cuts and defense-related furloughs. If the president estimates all these job-related impacts, then it’s even more amazing that he won’t come to the table to offer better solutions.

Despite the president’s unwillingness to work with House Republicans, we will continue efforts to fix sequestration with cuts that target wasteful spending instead of an across-the-board approach that doesn't prioritize essential programs. Last year, I voted to replace these cuts with reforms that target waste, fraud and abuse in mandatory spending programs. The Senate, unfortunately, has yet to pass anything that replaces the sequester with more targeted reforms. 

These across-the-board cuts are not the ideal way to get our spending under control, but because of the president’s insistence on higher taxes and higher spending, sequestration is likely to go into effect on Friday. 

East Tennesseans know our problem isn't that we tax too little, it’s that we spend too much.  I hope the president and Senate will act with greater urgency to solve an avoidable problem. Rest assured I will continue to push for a commonsense, responsible replacement to the sequester that includes necessary spending cuts that will get our deficit under control.

Please feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family.
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Tags: Budget