Just 10 days from now, Congress might allow a series of severe and automatic budget cuts to take place that will hurt our economic growth, add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls, and threaten military readiness.
But, as President Obama said this morning, these cuts don’t have to happen — Congress has the power to stop them.
In Case You Missed It
Here are some of the top stories from the White House blog:
The Inside Story on Theodore Roosevelt’s Official Portrait For Presidents Day, White House Curator Bill Allman tells the inside story on Theodore Roosevelt’s official portrait.
From the Archives: George Washington Writes in the Margins Beginning in March, George Washington’s Acts of Congress will travel the country and visit the 13 Presidential Libraries of the National Archives through a partnership with Mount Vernon, offering a rare glimpse into history that is as relevant today as it was 224 years ago.
Giving Every Child a Chance in Life In Chicago, President Obama laid out a plan to rebuild ladders of opportunity for every American who is willing to work hard and climb them.
Posted by Beth Kaiman
Documents obtained by USA Today give a state-by-state breakdown of the furloughs and financial impact related to the military, if Congress does not alter the current sequestration plan scheduled to take effect next month.
In terms of Army cuts, Washington state would be hit 11th-hardest hit in the nation. At Joint Base Lewis-McChord, if Congress changes nothing, a $341 million annual cut would be ordered, according to the Army. More than 11,000 jobs statewide would be affected by furloughs (of more than 200,000 nationally), a figure that the Army says includes, not only immediate civilian furloughs, but jobs related to military spending. President Barack Obama has exempted military personnel from furloughs.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Congress on Wednesday that if the cuts take effect in March 1, he may be compelled to furlough the “vast majority” of the Defense Department’s 800,000 civilian workers.
More from The Associated Press: Panetta also said the across-the-board spending reductions would “put us on a path toward a hollow force,” meaning a military incapable of fulfilling all of its missions.
In a written message to employees, Panetta said he notified members of Congress on Wednesday that if the White House and Congress cannot strike a deficit reduction deal before March 1 to avoid the furloughs, all affected workers will get at least 30 days’ advance notice.
The furloughs would be part of broad spending cuts the Pentagon would implement in order to achieve $46 billion in reductions through the end of this budget year, which ends Sept. 30. More cuts would come in future years as long as the automatic government spending cuts, known as sequestration, remained in effect.
In the event of sequestration we will do everything we can to be able to continue to perform our core mission of providing for the security of the United States, but there is no mistaking that the rigid nature of the cuts forced upon this department, and their scale, will result in a serious erosion of readiness across the force,” Panetta wrote.
Pentagon officials have said their furloughs would be structured so that nearly all 800,000 workers lose one day of work per week for 22 weeks, probably starting in late April. That means they would lose 20 percent of their pay over that period.
The Pentagon has begun discussing details of the furloughs with defense worker union officials.
House Speaker John Boehner put the blame on Obama and said he agrees with Panetta that automatic spending cuts would devastate the military.
Boehner released a copy of Panetta’s letter formally notifying Congress that the Pentagon will have to consider furloughing a large portion of its civilian workforce if sequestration kicks in.
The furloughs contemplated by this notice will do real harm to our national security,” Panetta wrote in his congressional notification letter, adding that it would make troops less ready for combat and slow the acquisition of important weapons.
In 2011, my boyfriend Donald Perry — a manager at a soup kitchen and homeless outreach center in western Massachusetts — was pulled over and arrested. His crime? He gave a ride to a homeless man who, though Donald didn’t know it, had stolen items with him including an iPad.
When the man realized the police were using GPS to track the iPad to Donald’s car, he fled — leaving Donald to be arrested. But although Donald was acquitted by a jury in July, he is still in prison seven months later.
At the time of his arrest, Donald was on parole for a robbery he committed 30 years ago. But since then, Donald has been one of the Parole Board‘s great success stories — especially because of his tireless service to the homeless. Donald isn’t a danger to society — he’s a loving father, grandfather, partner and public servant. He should be home with me, not in prison.
When Donald first told me he was on parole, I wanted to cut the relationship off. But he won me over with his commitment to serving those in need and his boundless love for his children and grandchildren. We were working hard and we were happy — we were even planning our next vacation together.
As of today, Donald has been in prison for 17 months. He is surrounded by men who feel hopeless and in some cases are mentally ill and physically dangerous. It is terrifying that a hearing next month could decide whether or not he goes home — or stays in prison for years to come even though a jury acquitted him.
We’ve been so touched by the outpouring of support for Donald from our community that we’re ready to open up to the possibility that many more people around the country could stand with us to call on the Parole Board to let Donald come home. If thousands of people sign my petition, I think we have a real chance the Parole Board will listen.
Our Progressive Radio in Seattle (PRS) Team had a meeting this past week with a former advertising sales person for KPTK who provided us with some interesting information about the demise of 1090 Progressive Talk.
- 1090 has been owned by CBS since its inception and was the only progressive talk station owned by CBS in the country.
- CBS chose to not spend any money on advertising for KPTK and did minimal guerilla marketing for promotion.
- When KPOJ in Portland first became a progressive talk station, they spent money on advertising and it did well for the first year.
Please help us build signers on our petition
Our SignOn petition has over 9,100 signers. We want to build it to over 10,000. If you know someone who hasn’t signed yet and would be interested in what we are doing, please send them the link: “Don’t Let Seattle Lose Progressive Radio” http://signon.org/sign/dont-let-seattle-lose-1?mailing_id=9335&source=s.em.cr&r_by=4666192
When we’re ready, MoveOn will pay for making one set of paper copies for us to deliver. The plan is to create a media event, if we can find a reporter that wants to cover it. We can deliver electronic copies of the signers anytime.
Website in progress
A volunteer is helping create a website that will be on a free platform. We’ll let you know when the site is up and running.
Meeting with Al Gore?
A member of our PRS team met briefly with Al Gore (while he was on his book tour) and shared our plight of losing progressive talk radio in the NW.
Funding a progressive talk station in Seattle