By Congressman Scott Peters (D-San Diego)
March 12, 2013 -- Two weeks before the sequester took effect, House leadership called a recess and sent us home. As a former Port Commissioner and City Council president, that was foreign to me. I could not believe, with the amount of work still to be done, we were sent home. And, even more frustrating, that we were sent home without being allowed to vote on a single alternative to the sequester, because leadership didn’t agree with the legislation. This, in my opinion, is not representative of the democratic process that the United States is regarded for.
I used my time at home to send a message back to Washington. I worked with our port commissioners, scientific research community and maritime workers to tell Congress that the negative effects of the sequester will be felt in San Diego through layoffs, furloughs, stifled research and decreased GDP.
Two weeks ago, I spent every day on the House floor bringing attention to the sequester and urging Congress to work together. Last Thursday, the final day to avoid the sequester, I asked leadership to stay in session to find a solution.
Leadership decided to adjourn but my appeals did not fall completely on deaf ears. This week, since returning, I have heard from both Democrats and Republicans who want to find a responsible alternative to the sequester, and who believe these solutions can be accomplished in our upcoming budget negotiations.
On March 27th, the “continuing resolution” that Congress passed last year in lieu of a budget, will expire. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle see an opportunity for us to stop the politics enough to address our serious fiscal problems – including the sequester – with a responsible budget that raises revenues by closing tax loopholes and reins in our spending.
I’m determined to do my part to get Congress working again. Since day one I’ve looked for partners on both sides of the aisle who have a similar mindset and determination to put aside political agendas and problem solve.
This is just the beginning of a trying journey, but if we remember our purpose, this journey will also be rewarding. It is my great honor to represent you in Congress, and I am working hard every day to make you proud.
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