DUBLIN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - One Georgia congressman is calling on house and senate leaders to come up with a plan to prevent the automatic federal budget cuts.
The looming March 1st deadline is 10 days away, but Congressman John Barrow says there is plenty of time to take action. Next Friday, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts are set to take place across federal government programs unless Congress can come up with a plan to stop it.
"We still got time to do something," Barrow said.
But it is getting down to the wire. That's why Barrow, who represents the 12th district, sent a letter to house and senate leaders and asked them to reconvene the "super committee" to decide what to cut, rather than trim from every program.
"We need to make targeted cuts that cut away at the fat, the waste, and the worthless stuff that we're doing.," Barrow said. "We shouldn't be hacking away at the most vital stuff the federal government is doing."
The sequester is expected to cut $500 billion in the nation's defense. Here in the Peach State, that means more than 15,000 Air Force civilian employees will be furloughed which equal $120 million in lost pay.
"We need to invest in our national security. We shouldn't be hacking away at it," Barrow said.
Barrow says even though Congress is divided, it is time to put aside partisan politics and come up with a plan.
"To offset the sequestration with cuts on things we can all agree on, things that need to be cut rather than things that need to be preserved or enhanced," Barrow said. "Something that makes more sense for America."
Before it is too late. The automatic spending cuts are set to take place next Friday. Barrow has not heard back from house and senate leaders about his request. Congress is on vacation until next week.
Read Congressman Barrow's letter below:
Dear Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, and Minority Leader McConnell:
I write to urge you to immediately reconvene a meeting of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or "super committee," for the purpose of finding targeted spending cuts to replace the sequester.
After a two month delay, indiscriminate cuts to many areas of domestic spending are set to hit on March 1. Both defense and non-defense accounts are vulnerable, regardless of their value. There is near universal consensus that this is bad policy that threatens our national security and jeopardizes the investments we've made in our country's infrastructure and well being. Given our general agreement on the negative impact of the sequester, it's an embarrassment that we've not been able to find a suitable alternative in the year and a half we've known it was coming.
I still believe we can find savings to replace the sequester in a smarter way by working together to first target areas of excess, duplication, and waste and then have a discussion about our priorities. Despite the failure of the super committee to accomplish their goals last Congress, I am hopeful that, having learned more about the dire consequences of the sequester, we have a new sense of urgency to succeed if given the chance. Our constituents certainly understand the cost of inaction. I believe this is the most reasonable course of action and the most likely to be successful.
It is my hope that we can move quickly, but responsibly, to find the spending cuts we need to replace sequestration and also make a significant reduction in our long-term debt.