Letter to the Editor: Near legislative shutdown unnecessary drama
Published 6:31 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023
The bipartisan debt limit agreement of last spring provided a framework to fund the federal government for the next two years. It allowed for our national defense, protections for veterans and border security to be funded outside of the limits.
It placed limits on the remaining federal budget and was a reasonable compromise to maintain necessary services to Americans while controlling the federal budget. Last spring’s agreement is expected to cause major cuts to discretionary programs.
The Republicans in the House of Representatives want even more cuts to federal spending than agreed to in the debt limit agreement and threatened to shut down the Federal Government if they didn’t get them.
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Fortunately, an agreement to temporarily fund the government for 45 days was reached.
The shutdown would have devastated services to ordinary Americans. Three and a half million federal employees, including two million military personnel would not have been paid. Food assistance for low-income Americans would have stopped.
One of the additional cuts demanded by Republicans are an 80% reduction of aid for low-income School Districts resulting in the loss of 200,000 teachers.
A major impact of additional cuts in our local area could be on our local farmers. Agriculture related expenditures whether to farmers or for nutritional benefits are part of the discretionary budget. Between softening crop prices, high input costs and the drought farm income is in jeopardy. Local farmers, especially beginning farmers, could be in trouble and may need help from the programs funded by the discretionary budget that is being targeted by the Republicans.
One of the targets of the Putin Republicans is our aid to Ukraine to help it defend against Russia’s brutal aggression. Ukraine is shedding its people’s blood to defend itself and us against Russian aggression. Putin has made it clear that his goal is to reestablish the Russian empire and that the United States is the enemy. War is sometimes necessary. This is that time.
The Republicans are feigning concern about the federal deficit. This after giving a two trillion-dollar tax break to the wealthiest Americans during a healthy economy. Don’t gut programs that benefit low-income Americans to benefit the wealthiest Americans.
The current Republican and Speaker McCarthy’s hapless leadership created budget drama is completely unnecessary and is damaging our economy and country. It is time to pass budgets based on the spring debt ceiling agreement.