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Congressman Collins pushes for flexibility with sequester cuts

by jmaloni

Press release

Fri, Mar 1st 2013 11:00 pm

Collins says flexibility will allow Defense Department to prioritize C-130 flight simulator at NFARS

Congressman Chris Collins, NY-27, says the federal sequester is unfairly targeting the military, but he is hoping military leadership will have greater control over how to make cuts. Collins made the case for proposed legislation that would give department and agency heads more flexibility over sequester cuts Friday afternoon at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

Collins has signed on as a co-sponsor of Sequestration Flexibility Act, which provides department leadership discretion to transfer funds from the spending accounts they control. Under the bill, each agency will still be required to meet the automatic spending reduction levels under the sequestration order and the Budget Control Act, but agency and department heads will have wider flexibility in reaching their new funding levels under the law.

"The House will be taking action next week to give departments the flexibility they need to prioritize spending cuts," said Collins. "Our military leadership is asking for and needs to receive the discretion necessary to make appropriate cuts without impacting military readiness. This flexibility will help the Defense Department prioritize the C-130 flight simulator for the NFARS."

"The sequester cuts impacting the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and other government operations are arbitrary and across-the-board," Collins added. "Most disturbing, they are impacting important personnel and the services Americans rely on every day. I believe this approach was intentional so the administration could make the case for another round of tax increases. But the public is seeing through these scare tactics."

Collins said the House has twice passed legislation that would have replaced President Obama's sequester with common sense reductions and reforms, aimed at cutting government bureaucracy and waste. The first of those bills was passed almost 300 days ago, but neither measure was addressed by the president or the Senate.

"I think the residents of New York's 27th Congressional District find it inconceivable that the federal government is going to furlough men and women here at the Air Reserve Station or TSA and border patrol agents, or raise taxes before looking inward and cutting the millions of dollars of waste that can be found around every corner," he said.

Examples of what Collins considers wasteful federal spending include:

•The EPA doling out $100 million worth of grants to foreign countries, including China, over the past decade;

•The IRS running a TV studio at a cost of $4 million a year;

•The National Science Foundation paying senior citizens $1.2 million to video games so scientists could study the impact on their brain;

•The FAA sending more than 18,000 of its employees to conferences throughout the country, costing taxpayers $8 million over the past seven years; and

•The U.S. Agency for International Development using a $27 million grant to promote Moroccan pottery classes.

"Department heads should have the authority to cut this kind of waste so they can maintain vital services to the American people, and the federal government should have had the sense to not spend American's hard-earned tax dollars this way in the first place," Collins said. "Washington must do better, because the American people deserve better."

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