Castor supports Bill Nelson's legislation for Congress to take same pay cuts as furloughed federal workers

Shortly after Castor spoke in Tampa, activists with PICO United Florida held a conference where a number of people spoke about the deleterious affect that sequestration might have in the near future, particularly for low-income people.

Reverend Errol G. Thompson, of New Fellowship Missionary Baptist in Orlando, bemoaned the current poverty rate in the country and feared that the new cuts could only exacerbate those inequities. He mentioned Head Start and Early Head Start programs being cut.

Sean Sorbie, a former U.S. Marine and former organizer for the Truman National Security Project, said the sequestration is already hurting the Tampa Bay area, referencing the announcement that officials at MacDill Air Force Base have cancelled the annual AirFest, which in the past has brought in approximately 100,000 people.

Some Republicans and conservative political analysts said that Democrats are overreacting to the budget cuts, and some libertarian types said that sequestration will be good for the economy.

Jeffrey Miron with the Cato Institute wrote that the only problem with the sequester is that it's too small.

"It will reduce the deficit only slightly and scale back misguided government only a little," he said.

But Congresswoman Castor said such talk is nuts.

"If you're a civilian employee at Special Operations or Central Command at MacDill and you're furloughed, or you're a Head Start parent and your child is on the waiting list, it's much more difficult," she said, adding in Congressional Budget Office numbers that sequestration could lead to as many as 750,000 jobs being lost this year.

Last week, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson announced legislation, which according to this Huffington Post story, will "reduce Congress's pay by the greatest percentage of any federal worker furloughed as a result of the sequester." He's calling it the Congressional Overspending Pay Accountability Act; This morning in Tampa, Congresswoman Kathy Castor supported the idea.

"It's not right to be furloughing others in the federal government without asking members of Congress (to do the same)," she told CL after leaving a news conference in front of Tampa General Hospital.

Castor said Washington shouldn't have shut down when the sequester kicked in last Friday. She added that the immediate $85 billion hit to nearly all government agencies (except for entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare) came at the "wrong place in the wrong time."

Castor suggested that Congress balance the cuts in certain areas like farm subsidies. However Congressional Republicans maintain that they offered President Obama the chance last week to restructure the cuts any way he wanted, but he wasn't interested.

"Instead of directing his cabinet secretaries to trim waste in their departments, he's going to go after first responders. And teachers. And almost any other sympathetic constituency you can think of," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week.


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