bluntWASHINGTON, D.C. – This afternoon, Senate Democrats blocked U.S. Senator Roy Blunt’s (Mo.) attempt to introduce an amendment today to protect American jobs and public safety by ensuring “essential” federal employees continue to provide vital services in the wake of sequestration.

Blunt’s amendment would apply the same standards used during occurrences of inclement weather or other government shutdowns to the sequestration cuts to
each agency, which would protect food inspections, control tower operations, and border security. During his remarks on the floor, Blunt promised to introduce the provision as a stand-alone bill. To read more about the legislation, click here. To watch Blunt’s floor remarks, click here. 

“There’s simply no reason that the government should stop performing essential services because we are cutting 2.5 percent of the budget through sequestration,” Blunt said. “I’ll keep fighting to ensure unnecessary sequester furloughs do not hurt the economy or security by introducing my essential services legislation as a stand-alone bill.”

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Blunt offered a separate amendment with U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (Ark.) to solve a funding gap for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and ensure that food inspectors are not furloughed. It’s estimated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) projected food inspector furloughs would lead to the closure of nearly 6,300 food inspection facilities across America. As a result of those projected furloughs, more than 500,000 industry workers would lose nearly $400 million in wages nationwide.

Blunt and Pryor serve as the top members on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. To read more about the Pryor/Blunt amendment, click here.

“The Pryor/Blunt amendment is a step in the right direction as we work to protect jobs and keep food prices affordable,” said Blunt. “Without this funding, every meat, poultry, and egg processing facility nationwide would be forced to shut down for up to two weeks – impacting each and every American family with higher food prices. I strongly hope that the Majority Leader allows a vote on this important amendment.”

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