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Florida Seniors and Veterans Condemn Congressional Republicans for Stalling on Sequestration

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Florida Seniors and Veterans Condemn Congressmen Southerland, Webster and Young For Putting Millionaires and Corporations Before Middle Class and Military Families

Seniors and Veterans Detailed How Cuts from ‘Sequester’ Will Hurt Florida’s Economy Because Republicans Are Protecting Special  Interest Tax Breaks Instead of Hardworking Families

 

TALLAHASSEE, FL  – Seniors and veterans called on Florida Republicans like Representatives Steve Southerland, Dan Webster and Bill Young today to stop protecting millionaires and corporations and instead stand with middle class and military families that will be devastated in coming weeks from the draconian sequester. 

Instead of working on a bipartisan compromise, Florida Republicans all voted to take their own personal Spring Break – leaving town and refusing to work on averting this self-inflicted wound to our economy in order to protect tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas.

The veterans and seniors held a conference call to detail the effects that these draconian cuts will have at every level of Florida’s economy.  If the Republicans have their way and continue protecting the wealthiest few by refusing to help avert this crisis which they manufactured, the results will be devastating for Florida’s economy – leading to layoffs in the defense sector and cuts to Medicare that hurt seniors, middle class and military families. 

“Representatives Steve Southerland, Dan Webster and Bill Young are jeopardizing our national security, Florida’s economy and the lives of military families in order to protect more tax dollar handouts to millionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas,” said James Moran, a veteran from northern Florida. “Across our state, the Republican’s draconian cuts will hurt our economy at every level, and will particularly devastate towns and communities that support our national security.   But instead of working to stop this crisis which they created, Congressmen Southerland, Webster and Young have shown once again that they are willing to put the broken politics of Washington over middle class families.”

“Republicans like Representatives Steve Southerland, Dan Webster and Bill Young are willing to slash Medicare rather than compromising on a balanced solution and asking the wealthiest few to pay their fair share,” said Barbara Devane, a Florida senior.  “Congress cannot act to protect seniors when Republicans like Congressmen Southerland, Webster and Young have skipped town and are ducking their responsibility. We expect our leaders to work together to stop these draconian cuts, but if they cannot do so, Floridians will know that the blame rests with these Republican congressman and their stubborn refusal to work on a solution – all so they can protect more handouts to millionaires and corporations instead of middle class families.”  

 

BACKGROUND: THE EFFECTS OF THE GOP’S SEQUESTRATION ON FLORIDA

Jobs and Economy.  

Floridians Could Lose Over 79,000 Jobs. A 2012 George Mason University study estimated that Florida stood to lose 79,459 jobs in 2012 and 2013 from sequestration cuts (excluding cuts to entitlement programs). 

Florida’s Small Businesses Could Lose Over 35,000 Jobs. A 2012 George Mason University study estimated that Florida’s small businesses could lose 35,626 jobs in 2012 and 2013 from sequestration cuts.

Floridians Could Lose Over $4 Billion in Income. A 2012 George Mason University study estimated that Floridians could lose $4.071 in 2012 and 2013 in total income from sequestration cuts (excluding cuts to entitlement programs).

Florida Could Lose Almost $8 Billion in Gross State Product. A 2012 George Mason University study estimated that Florida stood to lose $7.998 billion in 2012 and 2013 in gross state product from sequestration cuts (excluding cuts to entitlement programs).

Source: The Economic Impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011, 7/17/12; The Economic Impact of Sequestration on Small Business, 9/20/12

 

Defense

Floridians Could Lose Almost 42,000 Jobs Because of Defense Related Cuts.  A 2012 George Mason University study estimated that Floridians could lose 41,905 jobs because of defense related sequestration cuts. [The Economic Impact of the Budget Control Act of 2011, 7/17/12]

Florida’s Bases Have a $60 Billion Economic Impact and Contribute 686,000 Jobs. “If tourism is the fuel that powers Florida’s economic engine, the military is the motor oil that keeps things running smoothly. The state’s 20 military installations provide a $60 billion economic impact and contribute 686,000 jobs.” [News Herald, 12/04/12]

Sequestration Would be “Major Blow for Florida”, Affecting Everyone from “Contractors to Convenience Stores.” “But the deepest cuts of the so-called sequestration are planned for Department of Defense funding, which could be a major blow for Florida, dotted as it is with military bases. The state’s Panhandle and the area from Jacksonville to the Space Coast could feel the brunt of this reduction, which would affect everyone from contractors to convenience stores.” [Palm Beach Post, 12/08/12]

Air Force Already Cutting Base Maintenance to Address Threat. “The Air Force is canceling all nonessential travel, conferences and research, and is cutting in half its budget for base maintenance to deal with the threat of drastic, automatic spending cuts.” [Washington Times, 1/14/13]

 Air Force Undersecretary: Sequestration Will be “Dangerous.” “Officials from the Air Force on Thursday laid out a grim picture of what the remainder of 2013 might look like, saying the service will have to slash $12.4 billion out of its budget this year unless a deadlocked Congress reaches a deal to avert sequestration in the next few weeks. ‘They’re going to be dangerous,’ Jamie Morin, acting undersecretary of the Air Force, said of the sequestration cuts.” [Stars and Stripes, 2/07/13]

Over 12,000 Civilian Air Force Employees Could Lose Millions in Wages. Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee estimated that Department of Defense furloughs of civilian employees would impact 12,145 civilian Air Force personnel in Florida. Those impacted could lose over $94 million in wages. [Report on Sequestration by House Appropriations Committee Democrats, 2/13/13

 

Florida’s 2nd Congressional District 

Defense Cuts Especially Relevant for 2nd Congressional District. “But the deepest cuts of the so-called sequestration are planned for Department of Defense funding, which could be a major blow for Florida […] That’s especially relevant in Northwest Florida, including Bay County, which is home to Tyndall Air Force Base and Naval Support Activity Panama City.” [News Herald, 12/04/1211/17/12]

“Major Player” in 2nd District Economic Community Already Predicting Thousands of Job Losses from Sequestration.“Earlier this month, Lockheed Martin said it might have to slash 10,000 jobs if the Defense Department cuts are enacted in January, but it is unknown whether the cuts would affect jobs in Bay County […] Lockheed is a major player regarding the economic impact on the community with field offices at Tyndall Air Force Base and in Panama City.” The News Herald also reported that “the defense contractor industry is a $500 billion catalyst for Bay County.”  [News Herald, 11/17/12]

 

Florida’s 13th Congressional District

GOP Senators Warned Nearby MacDill Air Force Base was “Toast” if Sequestration Cuts were Implemented. “During their visit to Tampa, the GOP senators- John McCain from Arizona, Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, and Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire- warned of possible cuts to the budget of MacDill Air Force Base, which is located near Tampa. The senators said the cuts or the possible closure of MacDill loom large because of the automatic budget reductions that are coming as a result of last year’s debt-limit debacle […] Graham, a moderate conservative GOP leader, did not mince words. MacDill is ‘toast’ if the automatic cuts take place, he said.” [News-Journal, 8/03/12]

Pinellas County Could Lose $86 Million Yearly from Sequestration Cuts. “Florida defense contractors could lose $2.4 billion annually under ‘sequestration,’ or the automatic cuts that would take place if the U.S. Congress doesn’t reach a  budget deal […] Hillsborough and Pinellas counties are among the top five counties in the state with the largest projected contract revenue reductions […] Pinellas, with $951.6 million in contract revenue last year, could lose at least $85.6 million each year between 2013 and 2021.”  [Tampa Bay Business Journal, 9/13/12]

 

Seniors

Cuts to Medicare Payments Could Top $16 Billion in 2021.  A 2012 study ordered by the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association estimated that sequestration cuts to Medicare payments to healthcare providers could be $10.7 billion in 2013 and reach $16.4 billion by 2021.

Floridians Could Lose Over 55,000 Jobs Due to Medicare Cuts.  A 2012 study ordered by the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association estimated that sequestration cuts to Medicare payments to healthcare providers could result in 55,340 jobs lost in Florida by 2021. Nationwide, hospitals could cut 144,006 jobs while nursing and residential care facilities could cut 63,956 jobs.

Source: The Negative Employment Impacts of the Medicare Cuts in the Budget Control Act, September 2012 (available here)

 

Education  

Over 67,000 Florida Kids Could Lose Title 1 Funding.  The National Education Association estimated that 67,350 Florida students would be affected by $38,245,000 in sequestration cuts to Title 1 funding.

Almost 2,000 Could Lose Head Start Funding. The National Education Association estimated that 1,930 Florida kids would be impacted by $16,035,000 in sequestration funding cuts to Head Start.

Over 16,000 Florida Kids with Special Needs Could Lose Funding. The National Education Association estimated that 16,440 Florida students with special needs would be affected by $32,278,000 in sequestration cuts to IDEA Special Education Grants to States.

Almost 2,000 Florida Kids Could Lose Preschool Grant Funding.  The National Education Association estimated that 1,910 Florida kids could be impacted by $923,000 in sequestration cuts to preschool grants.

Florida Families Could Lose Over $6 Million in Child Care Assistance. Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee estimated that low-income working Florida families could lose $6,452,758 in sequestration cuts to child care assistance through the child care and development block grant.

Over 20,000 Florida College Students Could be Impacted by Cuts to Work Study.  The National Education Association estimated that 20,500 Florida college students could be impacted by $2,128,000 in sequestration cuts to Federal Work Study.

Source: National Education Association: Impact of Sequestration on Federal Education Programs, 2/05/13; Report on Sequestration by House Appropriations Committee Democrats, 2/13/13

 

Maternal and Child Health Programs.  

Over 40,000 Mothers and Young Children Could be Cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Program. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimated that 40,300 mothers and young children in Florida could be cut from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children if sequestration was implemented. WIC provides nutrition and breastfeeding education, nutritious foods, and improved healthcare and social service access for low and moderate-income women and children.

67,000 Women, Children and Families Could be Cut from Maternal and Child Health Services.  The American Academy of Pediatrics estimated that $1.5 million could be cut from the Florida Title V Maternal and Child Health Services block grant, resulting in 67,000 fewer women, children and families served in the state if sequestration was implemented.

1,500 Fewer Florida Women Could be Screened for Breast and Cervical Cancer. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimated that $393,000 could be cut from the Breast and Cervical Cancer screening program, resulting in 1,500 fewer Florida women being screened for cancer if sequestration was implemented.

Over 11,000 Fewer Florida Children Could Get Vaccinations. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimated that $835,000 could be cut from the Florida Immunization program, which could result in 11,600 fewer children getting vaccinations if sequestration was implemented. The program targets uninsured and low-income children.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, accessed 2/15/13