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Massachusetts Groups: Congress, Pass a Progressive Budget and Replace Sequestration

BOSTON, MA— More than 40 Massachusetts organizations have marched into the upcoming battle over federal spending, urging members of Congress to use four principles to resolve the budget standoff in a responsible way that increases revenue and pares Pentagon spending in order to protect low-income people and invest in jobs that rebuild the economy.

December 13, 2013, is the looming deadline for Senate and House negotiators to reach a budget deal to prevent another government shutdown in early 2014.

In a two-page letter sent today to the Massachusetts members of the House and Senate, the 40 groups asked Congress to repeal the across-the-board budget cuts known as “sequestration”, and instead pass a budget that meets four principles:

1. Prevent cuts to Social Security and other key programs
2. Invest in jobs
3. Raise revenue by closing corporate tax loopholes and raising taxes on incomes over $250,000; and
4. Reduce the military budget.

Paul Shannon of the American Friends Service Committee stated, “Economists at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst found that public dollars invested in clean energy, health care, and education all create significantly more jobs within the U.S. economy than investing an equivalent amount in the military.”

Cole Harrison of Massachusetts Peace Action said, “We should end the war in Afghanistan, consistent with the safety of our troops, and shift from spending on outdated, unnecessary weapons to investments in projects that keep us secure and help us prosper. Many military experts say Pentagon cuts could be as high as $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion over the next decade without compromising national security.”

Michael Kane of the Mass. Alliance of HUD Tenants urged Congress to “protect essential programs that are vital to low-income families, such as housing, home heating, Head Start, infant nutrition, and education.” He continued, “such programs increase the likelihood of a full recovery with jobs, and at the same time, limit the growing inequality that underlies most of our economy's long-term problems.”

The 40 groups represent a broad spectrum of society ranging from community, labor, peace, and housing groups, to organizations representing people of color, low-income people and seniors. The letter was initiated by the Budget for All coalition.

The full text of the letter and the complete list of organizations that signed it is available here.