Yesterday, I invited some of the nation's leading experts and advocates to shed some light on how H.R. 1, one of the most draconian spending cuts packages our modern time has ever seen, will impact America's justice, job creation, public safety, and constitutional rights. Panelists spoke on how the bill is loaded with numerous anti-consumer and job-killing provisions. Worse yet, the bill includes measures that critically threaten the public safety and health of every American, by slashing some of the core government services middle-class and lower-income Americans depend on the most.
Check out a video clip of the forum here.
Here are some of the highlights from the forum:
"H.R. 1 violates the Constitution's Separation of Powers and 6th Amendment protections with respect to how it undermines the Equal Access to Justice Act," said Laura Murphy, director at the ACLU.
"The bill has near catastrophic results on minorities, but includes tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations," said Hilary Shelton with the NAACP.
Don Saunders with the National Legal Aid and Defender Association said, "the legislation would lead to more than 160,000 low-income Americans going without critical legal assistance."
Emily Stewart with Planned Parenthood Federation of America said, "H.R. 1 would eliminate provisions which promotes public health and welfare through family planning services, a program that has been in existence for 40 years and serves 5 million women annually."
Damon Moglen with Friends of the Earth said, "the funding cuts and restrictive language in H.R. 1 curtails the EPA's efforts in protecting public health, while ignoring the tax subsidies for the oil and coal industries which could save taxpayers billions of dollars a year."
"H.R. 1 limits the US Patent and Trademark Office's access to necessary fee collections for the office to spend on the review and granting of patents," said Kirsten Zewers of the Intellectual Property Owners Association. "Proper funding for the Patent Trademark Office is critical for innovation and job growth. If H.R. 1 is enacted, the USPTO could likely collect and not be able to use between about $184 million and $295 million for the 2011 fiscal year."
The fight is not over. As this bill, filled with sweeping cuts, goes to the Senate, we will continue to push back the GOP's efforts to hurt the most vulnerable and needy citizens. Congress needs to put aside their political and partisan agendas and focus our resources to facilitate our government's ability to promote job growth, ensure that the provision of justice is not jeopardized, and protect public health and safety.
More details on all the cuts made to justice programs and agencies, are included in our committee report, "America On the Brink: the Impact of Budget Proposals on Justice, Job Creation, Public Safety, and Constitutional Rights."
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