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ALPA Calls On U.S. Congress To End Sequester Threat Now
By Daniel Baxter

February 26, 2013 - At a news conference held yesterday at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), joined members of Congress and travel association representatives in calling for federal lawmakers to ensure that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are not forced to make hundreds of millions of dollars in across-the-board budget cuts because of the so-called sequester, which could go into effect on March 1.  

The 2013 Sequestration is the "across the board" budget sequestration or spending reductions, enacted by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The spending cuts were delayed from January 1 to March 1, 2013 by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Spending cuts of approximately $85 billion during 2013 are scheduled to go into effect March 1 if Congress does not intervene.  


The cuts are split approximately evenly between defense and non-defense categories, with the latter including both discretionary (i.e., Cabinets and Agencies) and mandatory spending cuts including Medicare. Most Medicare spending would be reduced by approximately 2% per year versus planned levels. Social Security is not in the scope of the sequester.  

Over the 2013-2021 period, the sequester would reduce planned spending by $1.0 trillion with interest savings of approximately $170 billion, for a total of nearly $1.2 trillion in debt reduction or avoidance. The blunt nature of the cuts has been criticized, with some favoring more tailored cuts and others arguing for postponement while the economy improves. 

“The impact of sequestration cannot be underestimated because at the very time many of our passengers are contemplating their next business trip or family vacation, our pilots are looking at a future in which they will have no other choice than to leave those passengers stranded at the gate,” said Capt. Sean Cassidy, ALPA’s first vice president, at the news conference, which included Rep. James Moran (D-Va.), Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).



ALPA warned that the possibility of mandatory across-the-board budget cuts raised the specter of thousands of eliminated, canceled, or delayed flights; reduced passenger service at security and customs checkpoints; air traffic control facility closings; and furloughs, reduced hours, or job eliminations for tens of thousands of U.S. airline industry workers. 

“Congress must make certain that the U.S. airline industry continues to fuel our nation’s economy, provide jobs for tens of thousands of hard working Americans, and deliver the service that passengers and cargo shippers expect and deserve from the U.S. air transportation system,” said Cassidy following the news conference. “This nation’s lawmakers must act immediately and end the sequester threat.”
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