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Letter: The sequestration

I would like to respond to a recent letter to the editor regarding the impact of the sequestration on Fourth of July activities. The writer places the cancellation of some of these activities squarely at the feet of President Obama, while bemoaning the fact that the president can travel to South Africa and provide foreign aid. The sequestration was a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011. One idea was to impose across the board budget cuts on all federal agencies if Congress could not come up with a bipartisan method of reducing the federal deficit. A special committee consisting of Republicans and Democrats was formed to work out a deal of spending cuts and revenue enhancements. If such an agreement was not produced, then the sequester would kick in. The thinking on all sides was that nobody in their right mind would agree to such a draconian approach. By the way, none of this would have transpired if the Republicans had not threatened to default on the national debt if they didn’t get their way. Regardless Congress passed the law, which the Executive branch is required to implement. Every department in government has been affected. It not only affected local firework displays, it also affects things like education, food safety, air traffic control and thousands of other activities. To think that President Obama is single-handily making these budgetary decisions shows a shocking ignorance of the law. This entire issue could easily be resolved: Congress could simply decide to turn the sequestration off. That is something the president does not have the power to do.

STEVEN SUTHERLAND

Greenfield

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