Dems, GOP Duke It Out Over Sequester

Everybody hates it, but no solid ideas how to avoid it

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 24, 2013 1:18 PM CST

(Newser) – With five days to go before a little thing called the sequester kicks in, there are a lot of fingers being pointed at and from both sides of the aisle. A look around the Sunday talk show dial, as per Politico:

  • Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine: "We laid a plan on the table about 10 days ago, and we will be voting on it this week. If we can find a balanced package in the Senate that gets bipartisan support, we can avoid these sequester cuts. There's no reason that this has to happen."
  • Maine Sen. Kelly Ayotte: "I've been outraged by the fact that we haven't had a budget for three years because the Senate Democrats haven't wanted to do it. I'm glad that to hear Tim say we should do it; we wouldn't be in these positions, these sequester-type situations if we actually prioritized spending."

  • Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood: "I'm a Republican. My audience is trying to persuade my former colleagues that they need to come to the table with a proposal, which might be they haven't done. While the president has, the Republicans haven't."
  • John McCain: "Shame on Ray Lahood."
  • Education Secretary Arne Duncan: "We don't have any ability with dumb cuts like this to figure out what the right thing to do is. It just means a lot more children will not get the services and opportunities they need, and as many as 40,000 teachers could lose their jobs. The fact that this is so easily avoidable is why I'm so angry."
  • Bobby Jindal: “Stop sending out your Cabinet secretaries to scare the American people."
  • Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers: “There will be an impact on national security, there’s no doubt. So it's really only 2 cents on the dollar over the whole federal budget, but they've scrunched that down into seven months and highlighted, or at least put most of the burden, on the Defense Department. So that is going to have an impact."
  • Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley: "These are job-killing cuts, and we need to find a way to avoid these. Sequester stands to wipe out a lot of hard-fought job gains in Virginia and in Maryland. So whatever our differences may be, we understand that this is an economic threat."
  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell: The sequester was put in place to be a hammer, not a policy. And here we are, a week away."
  • McCain on John Brennan's nomination: "Look, I don't want to put a hold on anybody. But the American people deserve answers about Benghazi. He needs to answer these questions. And they say, why now? It's the only time we have maximum leverage."
  • McCain on Chuck Hagel: "The president deserves an up-or-down-vote. I think (his confirmation) will happen, barring some additional revelation concerning his comments about Israel and all those other unfortunate things he's said in the past."

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood briefs reporters regarding the sequester, at the White House in Washington.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood briefs reporters regarding the sequester, at the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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