The deadline has passed, but that doesn't mean the sequestration debate is over.
None of Gwinnett's congressmen were happy about the $85 billion in across-the-board federal spending cuts that are expected to directly cut $34 million from Gwinnett County Public Schools and cause the closure of the air traffic control tower at Briscoe Field. They also have caused concern for public safety from the local sheriff, after the release of thousands of illegal immigrants from deportation facilities.
"If Congress does not address sequestration, American workers will face yet another hurdle to providing for their families and realizing the American dream," U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson said on Friday, the day $85 billion in across-the-board federal spending cuts took effect.
"This mindless austerity takes a meat-cleaver approach to cutting programs, regardless of the wisdom of doing so or the long-term costs that these cuts would create," added the Democrat whose district includes portions of southern and western Gwinnett. "Indeed, the only plan that the majority has advanced is one that would not stem job loss, but one that would cut the programs that help the unemployed, the sick and the poor. Sequestration threatens to forestall economic recovery, amplifying the effects of the recession on so many Americans."
U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, said the cuts didn't go down the way he wanted either. But he said the pain could be necessary to "re-energize" the economy.
"I've never said reducing spending would be easy, but I have always said that it is necessary," Woodall said. "There are better ways and worse ways to do it. I prefer the ways that we have passed in the House in our sequester replacement bills and in our House budgets, but the Senate doesn't seem to be able to pass anything at all.
"We owe it to our children who must pay our growing debts not to let the Senate's failure to act delay even one day the nation from beginning down the long and often difficult road toward balancing the federal budget and re-energizing the American economy and American job growth," added the Republican whose district includes the biggest portion of Gwinnett.
U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, who represents eastern Gwinnett and Barrow, took to the well of the House to give his suggestions on a better way to reduce spending.
"We only have to cut two and a half cents out of every dollar that we spend in 2013 to dodge the effects of the sequester," said Broun, a Republican who is mounting a Senate campaign for 2014. "If we can't shrink federal spending by two percent in a year without causing a meltdown, what does that say about Washington's spending problem?"
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.