Business Leaders Urge Lawmakers To Cancel Sequester

Feb 20, 2013, 10:00 ET from Committee for Economic Development

Committee for Economic Development offers straight-forward recommendations to set our country on a path to long-term economic stability

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Committee for Economic Development (CED), a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization that for more than 70 years has delivered well-researched analysis and reasoned solutions to our nation's most critical issues, today urged Congress to set aside the sequester scheduled to take effect on March 1, to focus instead on long-term plans to restore a healthy American economy. Specifically, members of CED called on Congress to replace the $44 billion across-the-board "sequester" with spending reductions and additional revenues that will shrink the deficit by $44 billion over ten years.


In a letter addressed to the U.S. Congress and President, CED called for an immediate stop to the use of the nation's debt limit as a political weapon and to put everything on the table as it develops substantive short- and long-term plans to deal with the double economic threats of federal deficit and debt. CED advocated for specific savings and revenue targets for each Congressional Committee of jurisdiction to achieve in such program areas as healthcare, tax reform, defense and discretionary programs.

CED members, current and former business executives and academic leaders, called for a two-year approach to solving lingering budget and deficit challenges, with limited targets for the remainder of 2013.  The first phase of which includes a wide range of alternative revenue increase provisions as well as a number of spending cuts.

"It is time for Congress to deal with the budget and to address our growing deficit and debt," said Steve Odland, Chief Executive Officer of the Committee for Economic Development. "Failing to do so continues to inhibit business investment and undermine business leaders' confidence in our nation's ability to meet our obligations."

Noting past bipartisan support, Odland argued that solidifying the finances of Social Security for the long term is an important step in beginning to deal with entitlement programs.

"Democrats and Republicans have both agreed that Social Security reform is essential for managing the deficit over the long term," said Odland. "Not only can this be accomplished with a combination of revenue increases and benefit reforms that maintain Social Security's solvency and preserve its role as a pillar of retirement security for millions of Americans, doing so will be the best possible demonstration that Congress and the White House can come together and deal with the toughest fiscal policy issues."

"The sequester is an insufficient tool by which to attempt to address our nation's greatest issues:  A growing deficit and debt and the need for fiscal reform," said Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA-CREF and co-chair of CED.  "Rather, Congress and the administration should jointly focus on long-term plans to achieve economic growth, job creation and financial stability."

"Everything – taxes, appropriations and entitlements – must be part of the discussion," said Carl Camden, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kelly Services, Inc. and co-chair of CED. "For years, CED has insisted that nothing will get done unless and until the negotiations begin with everything on the table. The repeated fiscal stalemates and cliffhangers have proven this to be indisputable," he added.

About The Committee for Economic Development
The Committee for Economic Development (CED is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization that delivers well-researched analysis and reasoned solutions to our nation's most critical issues. All of CED's work centers on the pursuit of six core principles stemming from a foundation of nonpartisanship: sustainable capitalism, long-term economic growth, efficient fiscal/regulatory policy, competitive/open markets, global competitiveness, and equal economic opportunity.

Note: The views expressed by the individual signatories are solely in their capacities as members or co-chairs of the Committee for Economic Development (CED) and do not necessarily represent the companies they lead or with which they are otherwise affiliated.

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SOURCE Committee for Economic Development