The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

May 13, 2013

Reverse impact of sequester

Daily Item

---- — It was just four weeks ago that Congress returned from a 16-day Easter/Passover break. The two major issues dealt with during that time, gun registration and immigration reform, went nowhere.

But what about the budget and the problems caused by the "sequester?"

Congress has been in no hurry to help the 70,000 disadvantaged children kicked out of Head Start, the four million senior citizens who lost Meals on Wheels, the 125,000 Americans who lost housing assistance, the thousands of Medicare patients being denied vital services, and other programs for veterans and the needy.

It's amazing, however, how quickly the members of Congress can pass legislation when it affects them and the elites who have their ear.

As they prepared to leave Washington for a nine-day break and after a week with numerous flight delays resulting from their failure to enact a budget, it took less than two days to pass legislation to fix the automatic spending cuts impacting the air traffic control system. After all, we can't have our legislators standing in line to get back home.

The reason given for this nine-day break: to "keep in touch with their constituents."

And how are the members of congress hearing from their "constituents?" Sen. Mike Crapo (Idaho) is hosting a $2,500 per plate dinner for the financial services industry. Join Sen. John Cornyn (Texas) and the pharmaceutical lobbyists for oysters for just $5,000. And back in D.C., Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tennessee) is getting together with several energy companies for $2,500.

It seems that keeping in touch with constituents really means dining with the lobbyists and raising campaign funds.

Meanwhile, 7,000 defense employees have been furloughed, critical medical research is being curtailed, and cancer patients can no longer get necessary treatment.

Voters should be contacting their legislators and telling them to adopt a budget to reverse the impact of the sequester and to enact legislation to increase jobs and restore the economy.

David B. Kyle,

New Columbia