Bi-partisan resolution by Senate leadership urges Congress to work together to avoid sequestration
STATE HOUSE, Providence – The Senate today passed a bipartisan resolution sponsored by President of the Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed urging Congress to work together to avoid the effects of the federal sequester could have on the state.
The resolution, (2013-S0435), co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio and Senate Minority Leader Dennis L. Algiere, further requests that Congress halt the immediate cuts facing Rhode Islanders and develop a balanced and responsible plan to manage the nation’s long-term debt.
The sequester is expected to result in $85 billion in automatic spending cuts across the nation just in the current fiscal year, which ends June 1. The cuts would pose particular harm to the defense industry, teachers and schools, financial aid to low-income students for college, assistance to the elderly, funds for public health programs, services for the unemployed, programs to protect the environment, and funds for crime prevention and law enforcement programs, among other reductions.
“While all of the reductions are going to hurt crucial programs, I am particularly concerned about the effect sequestration would have on the defense industry,” said President Paiva Weed (D-Dist 13, Newport, Jamestown). “Across Rhode Island, and particularly on Aquidneck Island, defense funding is a crucial part of our overall economy. I urge Congress to act swiftly to avoid making funding cuts which would be detrimental to our state’s economy, educational services, unemployment benefits, and other services upon which Rhode Islanders rely.”
According to a recent report released by the White House, roughly 5,000 civilian employees of the U.S. Department of Defense in Rhode Island would face gross pay cuts of approximately $31.5 million due to salary reductions as a result of sequestration. In addition, Rhode Island would see a reduction of about $800,000 in defense operation funding.
“Congress should waste no time in cooperating in order to avoid sending the country into sequestration,” said Majority Leader Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence). “So many of the programs targeted by funding cuts are those relied upon by the less fortunate – programs that provide meal assistance, services for the elderly and unemployed, and tuition assistance for low-income students. It isn’t the right move for our country or our state, particularly as we continue to recover from the recession.”
“This is a bipartisan effort from the Senate leadership respectfully asking Congress to work together to prevent the devastating effects sequestration would have on our state,” said Minority Leader Algiere (R – Dist. 38, Charlestown, South Kingstown, Westerly). “Here in Rhode Island, and across the nation, we struggle with high unemployment and an economy that is recovering too slowly for anyone’s liking. Sequestration could send our state in the wrong direction, potentially reversing the strides we’ve made in recent years to get back on the right track.”
The resolution, which the Senate passed unanimously, will be forwarded to the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and to all members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation.
The resolution is also co-sponsored by Sen. William A. Walaska (D – Dist. 30, Warwick), Sen. Louis P. Dipalma (D – Dist. 12, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton), and many other senators.
For more information, contact:
Greg Pare, Press Secretary for the Senate
State House Room 314
Providence, RI 02903