Officials say the cuts would have a spillover effect, leading to less spending everywhere.
At the first hearing of the Senate Budget Committee since Murray was chosen to head the panel in January, Murray said last week that the sequester and other “fiscal tightening” could depress economic growth by about one and a half percentage points, leading to a loss of roughly 2 million jobs this year.
“Leaving the sequester in place would lead to massive, self-inflicted damage that would hurt middle class families, those already struggling in this economy, as well as our national security and future global competitiveness,” she told her colleagues. “But replacing it the way House Republicans have proposed—with even more cuts to programs families and seniors depend on, and without calling on the wealthy to pay a penny more—would be even more damaging over the long run.”
Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen said Republicans and Democrats in Congress need to unite to pass “a big and bold plan” to slash the federal deficit and preserve “vital job-creating investments” at the same time.
“The political games of sequesters and fiscal cliffs wreak havoc on the economy, and the middle class suffers the consequences,” he said.
One man who’s not missing the fray: former Democratic Rep. Norm Dicks, Kilmer’s predecessor, who retired last month and is now working as a consultant. He said he’s eager to see how Kilmer, Heck and another freshman from Washington state, Democrat Suzan DelBene, respond.
“I’m looking forward to watching these new people deal with these incredibly difficult issues, like sequestration.” And once they deal with that, he said that Congress will get to tackle two other tough issues: gun control and immigration.
“My God, it’s amazing how many big-time problems we’ve got to deal with … . It’s going to be a wild year,” Dicks said.