Representatives Joining Together to Resist Efforts to Turn Off the Sequester Absent Debt Reduction Agreement

Update 12/16: Representatives Welch, Miller, Van Hollen, Cleaver, and Himes formally released the letter yesterday to President Obama with over 90 signatures from House Democrats in support of not dismantling the sequester until savings are enacted.

Several members of the House are working on a letter to President Obama -- organized by Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT), Jim Himes (D-CT), George Miller (D-CA), and Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) -- supporting his call to not dismantle the current trigger absent a bipartisan agreement on a debt reduction package that meets or exceeds the savings in the trigger. The trigger is designed to generate about $1.2 trillion in savings from automatic spending cuts. They write:

Dear Mr. President,

With the failure of the Super Committee to reach a deficit reduction agreement, we write in full support of your view that the sequester scheduled to take effect on January 2, 2013 should not be repealed or amended absent an agreement to reduce deficits that meets or exceeds the amount to be sequestered. The failure of Congress to act must have consequences. We stand ready to work with you over the next year to put America back on a firm financial footing and will vote to sustain your veto of any effort to repeal all or part of the scheduled sequester.

Co-signing the letter were dozens of other lawmakers, including Reps. Andrews, K. Bass, Boswell, Carnahan, Carney, Clay, Conyers, Cummings, D. Davis, Defazio, Deutch, Farr, Filner, Frank, Hastings, Jackson Jr, H. Johnson, Kind, John Lewis, Meeks, Moore, Napolitano, Norton, Olver, Perlmutter, Polis, Quigley, L. Richardson, Schrader, Schwartz, Shuler, Speier, M. Thompson, Tsongas, Van Hollen, Velasquez, and Yarmuth.

This is very encouraging news, and these lawmakers deserve credit for sticking to Congress's commitment in the Budget Control Act this summer to find at least another $1.2 trillion in savings this decade. As we have been talking about frequently, keeping the trigger in place is very important to help force lawmakers to continue negotiating on comprehensive fiscal reform.