Congressman Pocan warns of sequester consequences - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Congressman Pocan warns of sequester consequences

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Congressional game of who will blink first is starting to make many people nervous in Washington, D.C.

March 1 is when the sequester takes effect, which means huge spending cuts for every federal government agency.

Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Madison) held a news conference at the State Capitol Thursday morning to outline exactly what Wisconsin stands to lose if the sequester happens next Friday.

"Sequestration is a classic Washington budget gimmick that has very real life consequences," said Rep. Pocan.

A handful of constituents joined Congressman Pocan to lay out exactly what those consequences will be.

"900,000 fewer patients could be served, because of the cuts of $120 million to our community health centers in Wisconsin.  Federal programs such as meals on wheels will be able to serve four million fewer people," said Rep. Pocan.

"More than 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and children will end up not receiving services," added Janie Harris, a registered nurse who joined Pocan.

But Pocan says that's just the start.

"George Mason University has said that we could lose two million jobs nationwide, and 36,000 jobs could be lost right here in Wisconsin, because of the sequester," said Rep. Pocan.

Pocan says its time for Congress to get back to work and he believes House Democrats have a solid plan Republicans need to work on with them.

"It repeals subsidies to big oil and gas companies.  It imposes the Buffett rule to make the highest, the most wealthiest Americans pay a little more," said Rep. Pocan.

"There's no leadership on the other side of the aisle and therefore no agreement," said Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) on ABC News earlier this week.

Rep. Ryan is part of a Republican caucus determined to avoid any tax increases and says the sequester may be inevitable.  But he blames President Obama.

"The President gave a speech showing that he'd like to replace it, but he hasn't put any details out there.  So that is why I conclude, I believe its going to take place," said Rep. Ryan.

Pocan says that mindset has to change.

"I do urge my colleagues to come back to the table and deal with this in a responsible, thoughtful way," said Rep. Pocan.

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