Archive for the ‘sequester’ Tag

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Federal budget cuts, known as the sequester, are decreasing the already limited spaces in the national and state Head Start preschool programs.

In northwest Vermont, 71 slots for Head Start have been cut heading into this school year, said Paul Behrman, director of the Champlain Valley Head Start program which serves Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle and Addison counties. In Franklin County, 10 preschool slots have been eliminated between the start of the 2012-2013 and the upcoming school years, he said.
The eliminated preschool slots are a result of $800,000 in cuts for Vermont’s Head Start and Early Head Start — a similar program for pregnant mothers and infants and toddlers up to two years old — programs.

Behrman said children and their families weren’t the only ones affected by the cuts. The Champlain Valley Head Start had to lay off seven full-time employees, as well as reducing the hours for 10 other employees.
“Every job matters when providing direct service to young children,” said Behrman. “This is not the direction we should be going.”

Posted August 24, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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Greg Sargent “Is there any bill funding the government — at any level of spending — that Republicans alone can pass out of the House at this point?

Congress has gone home for recess after a series of botched votes that are cause for deep pessimism about the future. The basic problem here is not hard to divine. The Senate GOP filibuster of the transportation bill yesterday, and the House GOP decision to yank its version of the same the day before that, confirm that Republicans may not be able to pass a spending bill at sequester levels, even as they won’t support one at higher spending levels, either.

As multiple reports detail this morning — Lori Montgomery’s piece gets the framing exactly right –  the bill that spends at sequester levels alienates moderate Republicans who balk at specific spending cuts. Meanwhile, Republicans can’t accept higher spending levels because … the goal of keeping spending as low as possible has become a moral crusade, a higher calling, that can never be questioned, even if they are not willing or able to say how they would accomplish this.

If this sounds crazy, that’s because it is. But this craziness has a cause. Republican leaders have nurtured it for years, and now they are stuck in a trap of their own creation.”


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As the school year winds down, some of Vermont’s seven Head Start Programs are shutting down a few weeks early.

A few will be closed all summer. Many have already reduced enrollment, eliminated management positions, and furloughed teachers—and those cuts are likely to deepen next year unless Congress acts on sequestration budget cuts.

Last April, Head Start got the first wave of bad news. In Vermont, federal sequestration reduced grants to programs by 5.27 percent.

The downsizing didn’t all kick in at once, because each of the state’s seven programs gets their federal grants at different times. But according to a recently completed survey of directors, more than half of Vermont’s Head Start programs have or will cut either teachers, management, or enrollment. Some classrooms will be closed altogether.

The Lyndonville Head Start Center is open this summer, but Director Sue Bates says staffers are being furloughed for as many as four weeks between now and October.

What worries her more is the prospect of deeper cuts that might kick in for the next fiscal year, which starts on October 1.

“You know at that point when the school year has already started it will be very difficult for families if we have to cut families or staff,” Bates said.

That’s also keeping other program directors awake at night, says Vermont Head Start Association Director Paul Behrman.

“In terms of our current projections for the 2013 and 2014 school year, if that level of funding cut occurs we are looking at reducing enrollment statewide by at least another 71 slots for Head Start and Early Head Start, which would make the combined enrollment reduction between this school year and next school year upwards of 200 slots, approximately two hundred and ten,” Berhman said.

He says that’s a sizable chunk of the roughly 1,600 Vermont children and their families use the program–a small fraction of those who qualify for it.

Posted June 1, 2013 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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John Fugelsang “Let’s all thank the Senate for funding Air Traffic Control & ensuring the Sequester still won’t inconvenience rich people.”


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Bill Maher “You know what today is?  Right, sequester day.  This is March first, sequester day.  You know what happened here.  For months they’ve been trying to get a deal, the Republicans and Democrats.  The two parties could not agree, so they said, many months ago, we were going to set a date, and this is the date, to motivate themselves.  They said if we can’t do it by then, then automatic spending cuts that could send us back into a recession, will go into effect.  Well, this is like not having the willpower to diet, so instead, rigging your refrigerator to blow up if you open the door.  This is where we are with our Congress now.”


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Matt Taibbi “This “let’s blow up the American credit rating” ploy impressed hardcore anti-spending types in the same way. It was crazy, but maybe only slightly more crazy than both of the parties have consistently been for most of the last 20 years, when the two sides have continually failed to hammer out workable budgets and instead have mostly just let the national airplane fly mindlessly forward using the laziness-enabling autopilot mechanism of a continuing resolutions, or CRs. Despite the fact that working out budgets is mostly what we hire members of Congress to do, they seem to have a terrible time doing it on time, and instead routinely rely upon the CR process (in which the two sides basically agree to put things off until later) to keep funding levels static for some ludicrously short-term period like six months.

The failure to work out sensible budgets makes it impossible for government agencies to make long-term plans, and instead leaves them scrambling to spend money in the short term. It’s an incredibly stupid way of doing business and if these people weren’t on television so often, ranting and raving like baseball managers arguing a safe call at the plate and playing to the home crowd by pointing fingers at the other side, they would probably just do what members of Congress traditionally did in the pre-mass-media age, which is quietly and (mostly) sensibly work things out, getting as much as they could for their own constituents without crossing the line into antipatriotic acts of self-destruction – like a national default, for instance.”

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Ezra Klein “Think back to July 2011. The problem was simple. Republicans wouldn’t agree to raise the debt ceiling without trillions of dollars in deficit reduction. Democrats wouldn’t agree to trillions of dollars in deficit reduction if it didn’t include significant tax increases. Republicans wouldn’t agree to significant tax increases. The political system was at an impasse, and in a few short days, that impasse would create a global financial crisis.

The sequester was a punt. The point was to give both sides a face-saving way to raise the debt ceiling even though the tax issue was stopping them from agreeing to a deficit deal. The hope was that sometime between the day the sequester was signed into law (Aug. 2, 2011) and the day it was set to go into effect (Jan. 1, 2013), something would…change.

There were two candidates to drive that change. The first and least likely was the supercommittee. If they came to a deal that both sides accepted, they could replace the sequester. They failed.

The second was the 2012 election. If Republicans won, then that would pretty much settle it: No tax increases. If President Obama won, then that, too, would pretty much settle it: The American people would’ve voted for the guy who wants to cut the deficit by increasing taxes.

The American people voted for the guy who wants to cut the deficit by increasing taxes.

In fact, they went even further than that. They also voted for a Senate that would cut the deficit by increasing taxes. And then they voted for a House that would cut the deficit by increasing taxes, though due to the quirks of congressional districts, they didn’t get one.

Here in DC, we can get a bit buried in Beltway minutia. The ongoing blame game over who concocted the sequester is an excellent example. But it’s worth remembering that the goalposts in American politics aren’t set in backroom deals between politicians. They’re set in elections. And in the 2012 election, the American people were very clear on where they wanted the goalposts moved to.”