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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | U.S. | Health, Housing, and Public Services
Sequestration and lasting effects of the government shutdown
The latest continuing resolution that President Barack Obama signed that ended the government shutdown a few days ago only funds the federal government through January 15, 2014, and only extends the debt limit until February 7, 2014. Time is very short for the public at large to have an impact on lawmakers and negotiations that will shape the future of this country for many years ahead!
Sequestration and lasting effects of the government shutdown
By Lynda Carson - October 20, 2013
Oakland - With the long lasting effects of the on-going draconian sequestration budget cuts occurring including the latest partial government shutdown, people in Oakland and across the nation are being stepped on, abused, and treated like a punching bag.
Due to the on-going sequestration budget cuts ($1.2 trillion in on-going spending cuts), and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs as a direct result, it has become even more difficult for residents in Oakland to find work. It is very difficult to find employment that pays a living-wage, or to receive assistance for food, housing, energy bills, transportation needs, health care, dental work, child care or day care services.
The Section 8 housing choice voucher program is also at risk in Oakland and is facing over $11 million in budget cuts that threaten thousands of low-income renters with higher rent increases, or the possible loss of their vouchers someday because of the on-going sequestration budget cuts. Low-income families in the Section 8 voucher program pay 30 to 40 percent of their income in rent each month, and the rest of the rent is paid to the landlord by the federal program.
Because the Democrats joined the Republicans in allowing the sequestration budgets cuts to continue in the latest political deal known as a "continuing resolution" that ended the partial government shutdown on October 16, it appears to be a very grim situation for Section 8 voucher holders in Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley and people in cities all across the nation.
The sequestration budget cuts are also shredding the Meals on Wheels Program that feeds senior citizens, and includes massive budget cuts to education, food programs, small business, food safety, mental health programs, emergency responders, Native American programs, public housing, head start, homelessness programs, AIDS and HIV treatment services, Community Development Block Grants, and many other vital services or programs.
Indeed, the on-going battle over the federal budget and the debt ceiling in recent years has created a very harsh brutal political climate, making life incredibly difficult for all except the rich, and the very filthy rich.
Already the Republicans and their fascist Tea Party allies, including some far-right extremist groups such as the Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America are plotting their next moves to force another government shutdown in the coming months. They plan to extract as much pain as is possible from the American people until Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democrats cry uncle, and cave in to all of their brutal policy demands. Extreme demands that would eventually change the federal government forever, by allowing a handful of billionaires to take total control of this country and all of it's assets.
Making matters worse, many Democrats and President Obama are anxious to join House Speaker John Boehner, the extreme far-right Republicans and their allies in shredding government programs and the safety-net even further in a so-called "grand bargain." They are proposing massive budget cuts for Social Security and Medicare, and are falsely calling them entitlement programs. This would be a grand bargain that will take away even more options and resources needed by the struggling middle class, the starving poor, elderly and disabled.
People are hurting. Because of the latest government shutdown federal workers that were furloughed in Oakland, the Bay Area and across the nation are not expecting to receive a pay check until October 29. Even though the government shutdown began on October 1st, and ended on October 16th, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will have to wait till the end of October to receive a paycheck.
With a huge back-log of work piled up on the desks of the federal workers that were furloughed during the 16-day government shutdown, the on-going negative effects of the shutdown are monumental to the federal workers that provide many services all across the nation. It is estimated that there are somewhere between 800,000 to 900,000 federal workers.
Plenty of room to cut the over-bloated military budget and Intelligence Community
With an over-bloated military budget thats at an all time high including massive military bases stretching all across the planet that are not necessary, there is plenty of room for spending cuts to downsize the military, instead of our nation's domestic discretionary programs.
Click on the link below to get a view of U.S. military bases...
Then there is the National Intelligence Program that has 16 spy agencies that make up the U.S. Intelligence Community which has around 105,035 employees, and a "black budget" of $52.6 billion for FY 2013, according to the Washington Post. The federal government is wasting tens of billions of dollars every year to spy on Americans, and there is plenty of money that can be cut out of budgets that needlessly track the movement and communications of law abiding American citizens that use computers, cell phones, and other communication devises on a daily basis.
As the budget battle heats up again during the next few weeks and months over the on-going massive sequestration budget cuts taking place, including the feud over the next federal budget or continuing resolution, plus negotiations to extend the debt ceiling further, it appears that another government shutdown may occur if the right-wing extremists in the Republican party have it their way.
The latest continuing resolution that President Barack Obama signed that ended the government shutdown a few days ago only funds the federal government through January 15, 2014, and only extends the debt limit until February 7, 2014.
The House and Senate also passed a measure that requires a conference committee of twenty-nine members to come up with a spending plan, and to return a budget agreement to both chambers by December 13, 2013. An agreement that would establish the budget for the federal government for FY 2014, including appropriate budgetary levels for FY 2015 through FY 2023.
It is up to the public at large to speak-up immediately and pressure the politicians to enact new legislation that will make the rich pay their fair share of taxes to do business in America, and to persuade the lawmakers to reverse the sequestration budget cuts that have shredded the nation's safety-net.
Unless the public at large is willing to sit back and allow the right-wing extremists in the Republican party to have it their way.
Below is a list of the committee members required to come up with a spending plan by December 13, 2013.
The House of Representatives appointed the following conferees to the committee: Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI), Tom Cole (R-OK), Tom Price (R-GA), Diane Black (R-TN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), James Clyburn (D-SC), and Nita Lowey (D-NY). Senate conferees comprise the entire Senate Budget Committee, whose members are: Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (D-ME), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rob Portman (R-OH), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com
It is the Oakland Housing Authority that faces over $11 million in on-going sequestration budget cuts, with the brunt of the budget cuts going to the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.