WASHINGTON, March 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is the official statement of Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa on the failure of Congress to replace the sequester by today's deadline.
"Thousands of American families will suffer because of the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts triggered today. These cuts will destroy jobs in education, eliminate critical services for the mentally ill and the elderly, cut health care for military families, threaten food safety and lead to the furlough of federal employees.
"Austerity is destroying the economies of Europe and worsening the European debt crisis. Austerity will destroy America's economy and increase our deficit unless Congress acts.
"Cutting government spending is exactly what Congress should not be doing during an economic slump. Over the next 30 days our economy will begin a slow but steady downward spiral as these cuts take effect.
"We cannot allow partisan politics to lower the standard of living for most Americans. We cannot allow working people to again be victimized by the Republican Party's ongoing battle to protect billionaires and multinational corporations from their responsibility to pay their fair share of taxes.
"By not acting to end the sequester, Republicans are telling us that that these tax loopholes and their billionaire benefactors are more important than creating jobs and stimulating commercial activity in their own country. They prefer to defend an unfair tax code while attacking retirement and health benefits that Americans work all their lives to earn.
"I call on Republicans to end this shameful attack on the American people."
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters