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Colorado lawmakers implore congressional leaders to reach balanced budget deal

Seven members of Colorado’s congressional delegation have urged the leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to actively work on passing a comprehensive, balanced deficit reduction package to avoid the blunt automatic spending cuts — known as sequestration — established by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

The bipartisan letter’s signatories are Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet and Representatives. Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter, Mike Coffman, Jared Polis and Scott Tipton.

The letter reads as follows:

Dear Mr. Reid, Mr. McConnell, Mr. Boehner, and Ms. Pelosi:

We write to urge the leadership of both parties to work together to allow consideration of a bipartisan deficit reduction plan on the House and Senate floors before the end of the year. Such a plan should improve our nation’s long-term fiscal condition while averting the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts, known as sequestration, which are of particular concern to communities throughout Colorado.

During last year’s debate regarding the national debt limit, congressional dysfunction threatened to force the federal government to default on its bills, creating a political emergency that roiled the markets. The Budget Control Act (BCA) was subsequently enacted to resolve the impasse. The BCA cut federal spending by more than $900 billion over 10 years, and also created the automatic spending cuts in both defense and non-defense spending that we now face at the end of the year.

Members of both parties intentionally designed the sequestration to be a painful last resort in order to spur a bipartisan congressional agreement on a balanced deficit-reduction plan. Congress should act expeditiously to institute a comprehensive deficit-reduction plan that cuts spending, responsibly reforms and strengthens entitlement programs and overhauls the tax code. We need a clear, bipartisan and well-considered plan for addressing the deficit that allows us to stave off sequestration and stabilize the federal budget.

There should be no higher priority for this Congress than crafting a bipartisan deficit-reduction plan so we can bring it to an up-or-down vote before the end of the year and avoid the blunt automatic spending cuts as part of the BCA sequester. We urge you to instruct the relevant congressional committees to begin working on such a comprehensive and bipartisan effort and allow time for the plan to be considered on the House and Senate floor.

We are at a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. Our Colorado constituents are demanding that their elected officials live up to the responsibilities of their office. If we join together across party lines and enact a comprehensive plan to put our nation back on sound fiscal footing, we can restore economic confidence and position the country for another generation of global economic leadership. Failure to do so could have equally negative consequences for our nation. We urge you to make the time available for an up or down vote before the end of the year on a balanced deficit-reduction solution and look forward to working with you to resolve our current budgetary impasse to help ensure the future economic health of the United States of America.”

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