US Virgin Islands Governor Urges Congress on Budget Deal

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - October 6, 2012

Above: US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh (Photo: OG)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh, along with 11 Democratic governors, has signed a letter urging congressional leaders to reach a budget deal with President Barack Obama and avoid a series of automatic spending cuts called sequestration.

Sequestration mandates $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts that would impact the US economy, according to the letter. The cuts would be amount to annual spending reductions of $109 billion per year over nine years.

The cuts were put into effect in 2011 after a budget impasse in Congress, and will go into effect in January 2013 if no budget deal is reached.

“Sequestration threatens to halt the steady economic improvement of our nation and our states, and the clock is ticking on the opportunity to act,” the governors said in the letter.

Sequestration would result in a 9.4 percent reduction in non-exempt defence discretionary funding and an 8.2 percent reduction in non-exempt non-defence discretionary funding in fiscal year 2013, according to the US Office of Management and Budget.

“The proposals for how to avoid these cuts highlight contrasting visions for our nation,” the letter said.

It was addressed to US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“These cuts would have a drastic impact on our state economies, which are already under a great deal of strain, and would lead to reduced investments in key areas such as education, infrastructure, research and emergency response,” the letter said. “We recognize that tough decisions must be made to address our national deficit and that spending reductions are necessary. It is, however, our duty as leaders to ensure that these reductions are fair and do not require working families to bear the heaviest burden.”

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