Casey Joins Residents, Community Leaders Impacted By Sequester, Calls on Congress to Replace Indiscriminate Cuts With Balanced Approach

Standing With General Dynamics’ Worker, Acting Scranton Police Chief and Local Chamber Leader, Senator Makes Case for Different Approach

Sequester EventWashington DC- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), today, joined residents and community leaders from Northeastern Pennsylvania impacted by the sequester to call on Congress to replace the sequester’s indiscriminate cuts with a balanced approach. Senator Casey was joined by a Ken Klinkel, President,UAW Local 1193,General Dynamics  Land Systems Division, Scranton’s Acting Police Chief Carl Graziano and Austin Burke, President, Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, who detailed the impact that the sequester will have across the region.

“We need to cut spending but in a smart way. The indiscriminate nature of the sequester will be harmful to Northeastern Pennsylvania,” Casey said. “Congress needs to come together on an alternative to the sequester that will reduce our deficit, keep the economy moving forward and protect the vital needs of our region, including our defense industry, our police and our small businesses.”

Austin Burke, President, Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, said “I am greatly concerned for our small businesses who are struggling to find financing because the sequester will cut Small Business Administration loan guarantees by nearly $1 billion.”

Ken Klinkel, President, UAW Local 1193, General Dynamics - Land Systems Division, said “Implementation of  the sequester has the potential to create devastating effects on our ability to survive as a component manufacturer of the Abrams Battle Tank suspension parts and the Stryker combat vehicle parts as well.

Scranton’s Acting Police Chief Carl Graziano said, “The federal budget cuts will have a significant and lasting adverse, direct and indirect, impact on local police agencies including the Scranton Police Department. Directly we will see grant funding reduced again. This funding is used to put additional police patrols on the streets and for equipment purchases which could not be made otherwise. Indirectly local law enforcement would also be impacted via cuts to federal law enforcement agencies. These agencies provide specific assistance to local agencies on investigations, training, and technical assistance.”    

The sequester will have a negative impact in Northeastern Pennsylvania and across the state:

Fact Sheet: Impact of Sequestration on Pennsylvania

Sequestration Would Hurt Middle Class Families in Pennsylvania

363 Pennsylvania teachers could lose their jobs. Title I grants under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provide financial assistance to schools with high numbers of children from low-income families to help them meet educational performance standards. Sequestration could result in a $26.4 million reduction in funding, supporting 363 fewer jobs and 28,789 fewer students. [HHS, accessed 12/17/12; Department of Education, 2/13/13]

2,300 Pennsylvania children will lose access to school readiness programs. Head Start promotes the school readiness of low-income children from birth to the age of five years-old by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development. These types of early education services improve students’ chances of success in school. Across-the-board spending cuts could result in a $13.2 million reduction in funding, limiting children’s access and costing 609 jobs. [HHS, accessed 12/17/12; NEA, 2/5/13; Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies]

13,410 fewer special education students in Pennsylvania will receive support. Special education grants to states provide assistance to help meet the additional costs of providing educational services to children with disabilities. Funding under this program supports the salaries of special education teachers, costs associated with service personnel such as speech therapists, physical therapists, and psychologists, and the use of assistive technology in classrooms. As a result of across-the-board cuts, Pennsylvania schools will lose $21.4 million in funding for special education grants, supporting 258 fewer jobs. [Department of Education, accessed 2/12/13; Department of Education, 2/13/13; NEA, 2/5/13]

Parents of Pennsylvania children will lose access to child care services. The Child Care and Development Block Grant is the primary federal program devoted to child care services for nearly 1.7 million children.  These critical services support children’s health development and learning, while allowing parents to work, seek employment, or receive job training or education.  Across-the-board spending cuts could result in a $3,503,581 reduction in funding, limiting access to services and providing support for 1,800 fewer children. [Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies; Administration for Children and Families, accessed on 2/13/13]

Fewer inspections to prevent foodborne illness in Pennsylvania. The across-the-board cuts under the sequester could force the FDA to conduct 2,100 fewer inspections of food facilities nationwide, which could raise the risk of safety incidents and lead to more outbreaks of foodborne illnesses like salmonella or E. coli. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) may have to furlough employees, which could cause serious delays in food processing and inspection that would result in millions of dollars of losses to the agriculture sector. FSIS inspectors are responsible for ensuring safe conditions at over 6,000 facilities nationwide, including 368 in Pennsylvania. [White House, 2/8/13; FSIS, 2/4/13]

Pennsylvania will lose $2,113,985 in investments in first responders. FIRE Grants help firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources necessary to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related disasters. SAFER provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations to help increase the number of trained, "front line" firefighters in their communities. At around FY2011 award allotment levels, the across-the-board cuts under sequestration would mean apprxoimately $1,367,869 less in FIRE Grants and $746,117 less in SAFER funding for Pennsylvania firefighters and first responders. [CRS, 10/2/12; FEMA, SAFER Grants; FEMA, FIRE Grants]

Impact on Pennsylvania Jobs and Economy

Pennsylvania will lose $73.0 million in funding for medical research and innovation. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the largest source of funding for medical research in the world. NIH’s work has improved human health by increasing life expectancy and making breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. NIH research also has a significant economic impact, directly supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs and supporting the medical innovation sector which employs 1 million Americans. Across-the-board budget cuts would mean that reduced NIH award funding would impede medical research and cost 1,209 jobs. [NIH, accessed 2/12/13; UMR, 2/13]

$13.9 million less for scientific research in Pennsylvania. Under the across-the-board cuts forced by sequestration, at approximate FY2012 award allotment levels Pennsylvania would lose roughly $13.9 million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), resulting in fewer awards to support job-creating research into new scientific breakthroughs. The NSF is the funding source for approximately 20% of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities, and supports the basic research that leads to scientific advancement in fields like nanotechnology, mathematics, and computer science. [NSF, accessed 2/12/13; DPCC calculations based on NSF, accessed 2/12/13]

Pennsylvania will experience deep cuts in funding for housing and community development. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program provides communities with resources to provide decent housing, expand economic opportunity for local residents, and create jobs through the retention and expansion of businesses. The Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) program assists low-income and elderly Americans afford safe and clean housing in the private market. Across-the-board cuts would have serious consequences for these programs in Pennsylvania by reducing CDBG funding by $8,734,647 and allowing the HCV program to support 3,961 fewer families. [CBPP, 2/14/13; HUD CDBG; HUD HCV]

Impact on Health Services in Pennsylvania

547 fewer Pennsylvania women will be screened for cancer. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program helps low-income, uninsured, or underinsured women gain access to diagnostic services like clinical breast examinations, mammograms, pap tests, and pelvic examinations. An across-the board cut could result in $137,855 in reduced funding. [CDC, accessed 12/17/12; DPCC Calculations Based on Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies, 7/25/12]

5,630 fewer children will receive life-saving vaccinations. Grants for childhood immunizations help to purchase and distribute vaccines for poor and uninsured children. An across-the board cut could result in $384,629 in reduced funding. [CDC, accessed 12/17/12; DPCC Calculations Based on Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies, 7/25/12]

$2,032,901 less to provide seniors with meals on wheels and nutrition services. Senior nutrition programs provide meals and nutrition services to seniors in group settings like senior centers or through delivery to individuals who are homebound because of illness, disability, or geographic isolation. Across-the-board cuts would reduce funding used to ensure that Pennsylvania seniors remain healthy and independent. [AOA accessed on 2/12/13; DPCC Calculations Based on Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies, 7/25/12]

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