End Sequestration: The Security Of Our Nation Demands It!

Apr 26, 2013, 11:09 ET from Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah, a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senior Democrat on the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and related agencies releases the following statement on sequestration:

"As a senior Democratic appropriator for the Justice Department, I am alarmed about the impact sequestration is having on our nation. Just as the Congress has voted to provide more flexibility within the FAA to keep essential workers on the job and end flight delays, we must find that same flexibility to keep our judicial system fully funded. 

"The bombings in Boston and the Texas prosecutor murders come on the heels of a $350 million across-the-board reduction in Judiciary funding. These cuts endanger the safety of the American people.  Under the courts decentralized management system, each court decides how to implement its own funding cuts. Estimates from the Budget of the Judicial Conference states that up to 2,000 employees will face layoffs or furloughs by the end of September.  Every employee furloughed will see a 10 percent reduction in pay. Add to that 2,000 another 1,800 court employees who have been lost over the last two years and you have a very dangerous situation.

"The effects of sequestration are being felt throughout the judicial system. Federal defender offices are furloughing employees up to 15 days during the remainder of the year.  Already, we've seen it in the case of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith - the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden - whose trial on charges of conspiring to murder United States nationals anywhere in the world has been postponed because the budget cuts have forced staff reductions.

"There are fewer probation officers left to supervise criminal offenders, funding for drug testing and mental health treatment will be cut 20 percent, security systems and equipment will be cut another 25 percent.  And sequestration means court security officers will see their hours slashed, resulting in security weaknesses throughout the federal court system.

"America's already vulnerable economic recovery is in jeopardy because of delays in the processing of civil and bankruptcy cases.

"I call on my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to act now to end sequestration and let the American people know that their safety is paramount."

SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah