Payne Speaks On the Need to Stop Sequestration

Remarks as prepared for delivery: “I stand up here today in absolute disappointment with the body – specifically the total lack of Republican leadership, who choose to play a game of chicken then do something to save two million American jobs. After more than 20 years of watching my father serve the district he loved, I came down to Washington to do the same.  I came down here to work.

"As we speak, folks are terrified, and if they aren’t terrified it’s because they’ve stopped listening to the partisan bickering.  But make no mistake these cuts will be unimaginable to people across the country and people across New Jersey’s Tenth District. 

“So I ask my fellow colleagues:  Why are we here again?!  

“When I speak to my fellow Democratic members there is frustration. There’s frustration because we see the pain and fear in the people we speak to back home.  There’s frustration because we are ready to work. That’s what I was sent here to do. So let’s stop the nonsense and let’s get to work.

“The effects of sequestration are real. Maybe folks don’t understand what the word ‘sequestration’ means, but when they start to lose vital services they need to live, it is going to devastate working families, the middle class, and the vulnerable in my district. 

“In New Jersey alone, more than 40,000 people could lose their jobs. New Jersey will lose $17 million in funding for teachers, aids, and staff who help children with disabilities. Thirteen hundred children in New Jersey will be cut from Head Start.  Eleven thousand civilian Department of Defense employees will be furloughed. Seniors’ Meals on Wheels programs will lose nearly a half a million in funding in New Jersey, sometimes the only meal that they have a day.  And funds will be slashed for victims of domestic violence, resulting in 700 victims in New Jersey not receiving the care that they need to survive.

“Right now, Democrats have a plan on the table that would stop sequestration and start reducing our deficit in a balanced way.  It’s a plan that cuts spending responsibly, closes corporate tax loopholes, protects the most vulnerable, and ensures millionaires pay their fair share.  And you know what? More than 76 percent of Americans support a balanced plan.  

“So with three days to go, and $85 billion in automatic, deep spending cuts on the chopping block, it’s time for Washington to stop playing games – stop pointing fingers – and do what’s right by the American people.  That’s what the people expect, and quite frankly, it’s what they deserve.

“Mr. Speaker, I request unanimous consent to bring H.R. 699 – The Stop the Sequester Job Loss Now Act – to the floor.”