Late on Valentine’s Day, Senate Democrats unveiled a new bill, the “American Family Economic Protection Act,” that would avert sequestration until Jan. 2, 2014. The Senate is expected to vote on this bill when it returns from recess next week.
The bill replaces the across-the-board indiscriminate sequester cuts with $110 billion in deficit reduction that protects non-defense discretionary programs benefiting low-income families, seniors and people with disabilities. It takes a balanced approach to the sequester cuts for the remainder of the year through a 1:1 ratio of new revenue and spending cuts phased in over 10 years:
- The bill raises $55 billion in revenue by applying the Buffet Rule to households earning more than $1 million; by ending tax breaks for corporations who ship jobs overseas; and by closing a loophole that benefits refineries that extract oil from tar sands.
- The bill includes another $55 billion in spending cuts that are divided equally between defense and non-defense programs. The $27.5 billion in non-defense discretionary cuts target agricultural subsidies, while programs that help working families, seniors, children and people with disabilities are exempt.
The American Family Economic Protection Act takes the right approach to our fiscal problems. Rather than allow the indiscriminate cuts of sequestration to take place, or replace it (as two previous House bills would have done) with irresponsible cuts that harm low-income households, the bill asks those who can best afford it (i.e., wealthy households and corporations) to contribute a little more toward a sound plan to reduce the national deficit.
This bill does not avert sequestration once and for all, but it is a good start to reducing the deficit and putting our fiscal house in order. We call on U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin to support a balanced approach to future deficit reduction efforts that includes additional revenues, protects vulnerable Americans, and ensures that we can continue to invest in the building blocks of our economy.
– Yannet Lathrop