Coalition on Human Needs: This Year’s Sequestration Cuts are Inflicting Harm. Tell Congress to Reverse Course.

This Year’s Sequestration Cuts are Inflicting Harm.  Tell Congress to Reverse Course.

Please sign this letter.  
Deadline for national groups:  June 25.  Local and state groups: ongoing.

Please join the Coalition on Human Needs and USAction in signing on to the letter to Congress below and hereTo sign on as an organization, please email Ross Wallen at US Action (rwallen@usaction.orgor fill out this form — — by June 25.

The House set FY 2014 appropriations levels that will slash more than $45 billion from domestic and non-defense international programs below current levels.  Funding for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, for example, are cut 18.6 percent below this year’s low levels.The House cut domestic priorities even more deeply than the deficit reduction law requires in order to fund an increase in Pentagon spending.    These unconscionable reductions would be on top of this year’s painful sequestration cuts to Head Start, senior meals, education, rental housing vouchers, and much more.  (For examples of sequestration cuts happening now, click here.)

As the appropriations process proceeds, members of Congress need to hear we oppose these upside-down priorities.  We urge your organization to join us in telling the House and Senate to stop the sequester and oppose appropriations based on the House-passed levels. 

See the letter text below.

To Read and Sign the Letter

We will start by sharing with Congress the list of groups of national scope to the House and Senate after the June 25 deadline, and then will share the expanded list of local, state, and national signers at a later date.  Please note:  the letter will go to Congress with no letterhead on top – it’s a joint letter from all the signing organizations.

Letter Text:

Dear Members of Congress:

Across the nation, Head Start programs have ended their school years early, canceled summer programs, cut staff pay and benefits, and have begun to announce reductions in the number of children who will be served in the fall. Programs serving meals to seniors have started to reduce days of home delivery and have closed or reduced hours for dining rooms. The long-term unemployed have lost federal jobless benefits, while job training programs that might have helped them are cut back. Federal funds for education have been cut, with particularly harsh results for schools most reliant on these resources: those on Indian reservations or near military bases. Students counting on college work-study jobs are learning they will not get them. Poor families or people with disabilities perilously close to homelessness after waiting years for a rental voucher have been told they will have to wait longer.

These are just some of the impacts of sequestration. At a time when we need to invest in education, rebuild infrastructure, protect people from hardship, and jumpstart economic growth that finally reaches most of us, sequestration is taking us backwards.

While many are reeling from these impacts of sequestration, the appropriations levels set by the House Republicans for FY 2014 are taking even bigger steps in the wrong direction. Their plan not only assumes next year’s budget continues the devastating sequestration reductions, but it ignores the Budget Control Act’s requirement that half of the $110 billion in additional annual cuts must be imposed on military programs and half imposed on the other areas of government. Instead, the Pentagon budget is increased by 5.4 percent over this year’s spending. In marked contrast, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education are slashed 18.6 percent below this year’s funding, including sequestration. Other important domestic areas are also cut deeply: energy, conservation, and environmental protection programs are cut between 11 – 14 percent.

These are upside-down priorities.

Continuing deep cuts made even worse by shifting funds from vital programs to the Pentagon is wrong. These cuts to needed investments and protections passed in the House in a partisan vote trample on the core American values of providing opportunity for our children, security for our elders, and a strong future for all of our communities. Instead of more cuts to vital programs and more pork for Pentagon contractors, it is time to end tax breaks for the rich and for big corporations.

We urge you to oppose appropriations based on the House-passed levels. Congress should enact a budget based on the values of opportunity and security, to build an America that works for all of us.


(organization names)

Please add your organization’s name to this letter or email Ross Wallen by June 25.  (June 25 especially for national groups – but we’ll keep collecting local and state groups to share with Congress later.)

Thanks – please forward this to other organizations (congregations and other faith groups, service provider agencies, unions, community-based organizations, advocacy groups, businesses, policy organizations, etc. – all are most welcome!)

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