Energy and Commerce Democratic Leaders Call on Committee to Hold Hearings on Sequestration
Today Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Waxman and Subcommittee Ranking Members Pallone, Rush, Eshoo, DeGette, Schakowsky, and Tonko sent a letter to Chairman Upton requesting hearings on the impact of the automatic budget cuts scheduled to go into effect as part of the March 1 sequester. The cuts will affect almost every agency within the Committee’s jurisdiction and will result in over $85 billion in cuts to key domestic priorities and defense programs.
The members write, “It would be irresponsible for the Committee to fail to investigate the impact of these massive cuts to important agencies and programs under our jurisdiction. We hope you will schedule these hearings as expeditiously as possible.”
The letter was signed by Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman, Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr., Energy and Power Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby L. Rush, Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette, Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky, and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Ranking Member Paul Tonko.
The full text of the letter is available below and online here.
February 13, 2013
The Honorable Fred Upton
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Upton:
We are writing to ask that the Committee hold hearings this month on the impact of the automatic budget cuts scheduled to go into effect as part of the scheduled March 1 budget sequester. Absent congressional action, the sequester will result in over $85 billion in cuts to key domestic priorities and defense programs.
These cuts would affect almost every agency within the Committee’s jurisdiction and require budget cuts of almost 10% for the remainder of the fiscal year. They would endanger government agencies and program that provide important protections for American families. The list of cuts is vast and their impact potentially severe. They include:
- Reductions in FDA funding, including cuts to food safety funds that would result in 2,100 fewer scheduled food safety inspections and cuts to FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research that would delay new drug approvals.
- Reductions in funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Mental Health Block Grant Programs, resulting in almost 400,000 adults and children with serious mental illnesses going untreated.
- Reductions in research funding for the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, delaying or halting research into the prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions affecting millions of Americans and affecting thousands of scientists and researchers.
- Reductions in funding for the Aids Drug Assistance Program, which could result in 7,400 fewer patients having access to HIV mediations, and reductions in funding for CDC, which could result in over 400,000 fewer AIDS tests being conducted this year.
- Reductions in the EPA budget for enforcement of public health and environmental protections, grants to state and local governments for drinking water and wastewater projects and water quality permitting and air quality monitoring, and hazardous waste cleanups.
It would be irresponsible for the Committee to fail to investigate the impact of these massive cuts to important agencies and programs under our jurisdiction. We hope you will schedule these hearings as expeditiously as possible.
Henry A. Waxman
Committee on Energy and Commerce
Frank Pallone, Jr.
Subcommittee on Health
Bobby L. Rush
Subcommittee on Energy and Power
Anna G. Eshoo
Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade
Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy