Tammy Baldwin talks sequester

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Tammy Baldwin talks sequester

Premiere Date: 
February 28, 2013

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin shares her thoughts on the potential impact of the sequester.

 

Episode Transcript: 

Tammy Baldwin:

It's so disappointing and, as you know, we've been living from fiscal cliff to fiscal cliff and crisis to crisis and people are sick of it. We're fed up with it. We've got to get back to the point where we're governing and budgeting in a responsible way. Just as the debt ceiling limit went into, well not only the 11th hour, but we actually went over that cliff, we're seeing the same today. Yesterday, the Senate voted on a way to replace the sequester, but unfortunately the House went home without taking it up. I think, if I'm predicting the future accurately, that we are in the sequester now. But as it is put into full effect, I think people will see the very serious ramifications. They will heed the warnings of economists who say this is going to significantly affect economic growth in our country, and is going to result in over a million people losing their jobs and I think they will insist for action from their representatives.

Frederica Freyberg:

Congressman Paul Ryan says the sequester is happening because the Senate failed to act. How do you respond to that?

Tammy Baldwin:

Well, we acted. And, you know, unfortunately, we've been frustrated with the super majority requirements. We asked the minority to allow us to move in a simple majority fashion. We certainly had a substantial majority voting to bring a balanced plan forward, a plan that recognizes that we can't hinder our economic growth at this point, a plan that says that we do have to tackle our deficit and our debt, but we have to do so in a way that doesn't short-change our future. It had spending cuts, and our plan also had the Buffett rule that said, people who make over a million or two million a year shouldn't be able to use loopholes to get a way with paying a lower tax rate than hard-working Americans. We urged republicans to work with us in order to move this balanced replacement of the sequester forward.

Frederica Freyberg:

Now, why do tax increases in the way even perhaps of loopholes become a part of this discussion, when republicans already obliged some of those in return for spending cuts?

Tammy Baldwin:

You know, economists said a long time ago, and this was a guiding principle for many of the groups that have been working on deficit reduction and debt reduction. They said that $4 trillion in deficit reduction should be our target. So far, we have come a long way on that, actually. If you look at our past actions, we're at about $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction that's occurred. This is over a ten-year time horizon. But it has been grossly distorted to spending impacts-- spending cuts that disproportionately burden the middle class in our country. If we're going to be fair and balanced moving forward, I believe that it should be 50/50, with asking the very well-off to do their fair share, but also asking all Americans to sacrifice so that we can reach this goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction.

Frederica Freyberg:

Specific to the sequester, what would be the worst of the cuts for Wisconsin?

Tammy Baldwin:

You know, it's hard to pick among the bad news that's contained in the sequester. I'm particularly concerned with some of the educational cuts that we'll see through the whole spectrum, from early childhood education, through to helping students afford higher education. I'm very worried about some of the things that we've heard outlined in aviation, in particular some of the control towers at some of our smallest airports may actually be closed and people will be furloughed in a way that we'll probably see delays. We see everything from cuts in food inspection to, just a wide range of things. I think Wisconsinites are going to get hit and they're going to see the results soon.

Frederica Freyberg:

Now, republicans say that the president's detailing of these kinds of sequester impacts is fear mongerring. How do you respond to that?

Tammy Baldwin:

I think it's absolutely essential that our cabinet secretaries tell us what is going to happen. What are the ramifications of this policy that I have to add was never intended to go into effect. It was never-- It was meant as a punishment being held out there in case we couldn't get the job done of balancing our budget, whittling down our deficit in a thoughtful and balanced way. Well, this punishment that was never supposed to happen is happening, and people really need to understand what's going to happen, and how it's going to happen. I think it's important, because that will be ultimately what gets us back on track again, gets democrats and republicans working together again is when representatives go home and hear from their constituents how harsh this is.


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