Monday, the Department of Defense will begin furloughing approximately 5,000 civilian employees at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) due to the sequester.

The naval base is a critical economic engine in our community, and workers at NBVC should not be punished because of Congress’ failure to get our fiscal house in order.

In Ventura County, we take pride in our naval base and its ability to protect us at home and abroad. Not only will these cuts hurt furloughed employees and their families, but it will compromise the critical operation of our naval base.

These civilian employees are vital members of our community and provide support to our naval base through many critical roles, including administrative, environmental, maintenance and construction positions.

I am deeply concerned about the impact of the furloughs at NBVC, throughout California and across the country, which will hurt families and businesses, while slowing economic growth and recovery.

In California, a total of 57,270 employees will experience furloughs of up to 11 days, taking a $189 million toll on our state’s economy. Nationally, 618,940 Defense Department civilians will be furloughed, costing our economy more than $2 billion.

The sequester is forcing indiscriminate cuts to our federal budget because Congress was not able to come together to find a reasonable compromise and prevent sequestration.

The sequester was originally designed to be so painful to both Republicans and Democrats that it would force us to overcome our differences and find a compromise to our budget problems.

It has now been 106 days since the Senate passed a budget, yet House Republican leaders refuse to appoint conferees and move the process forward to reach a comprehensive budget agreement, for no other reason than ideological paralysis.

Failure to produce a reasonable budget will not only hurt this recovery, it will also starve our education system and delay critical investments in our crumbling infrastructure. It is clear this is not what the American people want.

They want a balanced approach to deficit reduction that continues to allow us to make investments in our future.

I’ve urged Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to end the sequester cuts and work toward a budget agreement that would make smart, strategic cuts that do not further harm the middle class, that would close corporate tax loopholes and unnecessary subsidies and that would ask the very wealthy to pay their fair share.

So far he has refused to act. It is because of Speaker Boehner’s refusal to move the process forward that I was compelled to sign a discharge petition, along with 194 of my colleagues, which if passed would compel him to appoint budget conferees.

For too long, both parties in Congress have failed to come together to find solutions to our fiscal challenges in a manner that reflects the priorities of the American people.

I was elected on the premise that we should solve these challenges using a balanced approach that would include responsible revenue generation and reasonable cuts. That’s what we must do, and we must do it without delay.

I am ready to roll up my sleeves to get a budget deal and stop the sequester’s impact on those furloughed at Naval Base Ventura County and for the nation.

I hope Speaker Boehner can be persuaded to do the same.

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