An Open Letter to Majority Leader Cantor
Dear Mr. Cantor:
This week, you delivered a speech outlining four major issues that you say are now of great importance to you: education, health care, job growth and innovation. I agree that these priorities are critical to America's families, and Democrats in Congress have fought for them for years.
I am sure you are aware that sequestration would devastate all of these priorities. Here are a few examples of funding cuts that would take place in 2013 alone if we cannot reverse the sequester.
• Funding for schools in low-income communities would be cut by $750 million.
• Special Education funding would be cut by more than $600 million.
• Afterschool programs would be cut by $60 million.
• The National Institutes of Health, which not only invests in critical scientific research to find new treatments and cures that benefit millions of Americans and their families, but also supports more than 400,000 jobs, would lose $1.7 billion.
• Community health centers, which treat millions of working families who rely on Medicaid or are uninsured, would lose $115 million, causing about 890,000 of their patients to lose access to care.
• Workforce Investment Act programs, which upgrade the skills of the American workforce in critically needed fields, would be cut by almost $100 million.
• The Jobs for Veterans program would lose $8 million in much-needed funding for employment and training services.
• The Congressional Budget Office recently reported that sequestration will slow our economic growth, keep unemployment high and cause the loss of more than 1 million jobs this year and next.
• The National Science Foundation's basic research programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics would lose over $300 million.
• The Food and Drug Administration, which is critical to ensuring that new drugs and medical devices get a timely and thorough review, would be cut by $222 million.
Without Congressional action, sequestration will occur in only three weeks. It is time to step away from messaging bills, economic brinksmanship and manufactured crises, and get serious about solving our nation's problems.
With the words you spoke at the American Enterprise Institute this week, it appears that you now want to focus on education, health care, job growth and innovation, and that means your words must be followed by action.
I urge you to immediately contact Majority Leader Harry Reid so that the two houses of Congress can come together and address sequestration and save American families from cuts and pain.
United States Senator