Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal is calling on his fellow colleagues to postpone the series of across-the-board spending cuts, due to take effect on Friday, until the end of the year. Speaking at a Chamber of Commerce event in Springfield Monday, Neal says following through on the so-called Sequester will eliminate any possibility of coming up with a longer-term deal to address the deficit. Congressman Neal calls the Sequester yet another short-term gimmick that is no way to run the economy. He told the group of business and elected officials the cuts could reduce the gross domestic product by one percent, slowing down job growth and further jeopardizing the economic recovery.
“We are far better off taking a deep breath, kicking some of these problems down the road as the economy continues to repair on the edges. And then making determinations a little bit longer out. Question in point…Medicare. People see it as one of the driving forces of America’s financial challenge. But it’s already, at least on recent evidence, sorting itself. That doesn’t mean there aren’t going to be changes. But already you can see that medical inflation is at 3.9%. That’s a long way from the 12 or 13% where it has been for the last few years.”
Neal says American businesses are sitting on more than $2 trillion, not willing to release that money and make any investments until there is some economic certainty. The Springfield Democrat acknowledges that most of the public does not appear concerned yet about the impending cuts. But he says that is sure to change come late May and June when those cuts begin to be felt. The Obama Administration says Massachusetts would lose about $14 million for primary and secondary education, putting 190 teacher and aide jobs at risk. And about 7,000 civilian Defense Department employees in the state would be furloughed beginning at late April, reducing gross pay by around $43 million.