Mikulski: Lawmakers’ paychecks should be docked same as furloughed workers

Mikulski said the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts set to take effect Friday could be avoided if Republicans support a Democratic plan, which reduces the deficit by $110 billion. The Democratic plan would have equal amounts of spending cuts and tax revenues through closing corporate tax loopholes. 

Mikulski acknowledged that Republicans have said they will not accept any additional tax increases, but she pointed out that there are “lots of very juicy loopholes” that should be closed to increase revenue. 

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman, Mikulski, said the sequester will have a devastating effect on the economy and cause many sectors to furlough or layoff workers.

“If in fact people begin to lose their jobs or are furloughed and lose part of their paychecks, they’re not going to be spending money in their communities,” Mikulski said. “We are not only going to hurt our economy but there is an anti-incumbent fever spreading across the country.”

Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) joined Mikulski on the Senate floor Tuesday in talking about how the massive spending cuts will negatively affect their states and the country.

Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are expected to introduce alternatives to the sequester later this week, but neither is expected to pass, let alone in time for the House to act.

Boxer said she believes the Democratic plan would pass a simple-majority vote, but that Republicans will likely filibuster the bill, which means 60-votes would be needed.

“We have an alternative to the sequester and I believe we have a majority-vote for that plan,” Boxer said. “I have a plea to my Republican colleagues. Do not filibuster this, too many lives are at stake and too many jobs are at stake.”

Economist have predicted that as many as 750,000 jobs could be lost this year as a result of the automatic spending cuts.

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