Ohio Lawmakers Debate Sequester Consequences

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Ohioans will feel the pinch when sequester cuts $85 billion from the federal budget starting on Friday.

“The sequester, if it goes into effect, would have an impact.  No question.  It's between a five and six percent cut across the board,” said Sen. Rob Portman.

Portman, a Republican, visited with base commanders at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton on Monday to discuss the effects of sequestration on the military.

Ohio’s House Republican lawmakers were quick to place blame on president Obama.

“I believe that sequestration is better than doing nothing on spending. We have got to get our spending under control for future generations and the security of our nation. Sequestration cuts nearly three percent of the total budget. This is a time when the government needs to start living within its means, and if we cannot even cut three percent then we will never be able to move towards a balanced budget—that is just how the math works,” Republican congressman Steve Stivers said in a statement.

Republican congressman Pat Tiberi blamed Obama and the Democrat controlled senate.

“For a year and a half the president has either ignored sequestration or wrung his hands and said ‘someone should do something,’ we’ve taken real action and twice passed legislation to avert the across-the-board cuts, replacing them with responsible, targeted reductions.  Meanwhile, Senate Democrats haven’t offered a viable plan of their own that will even pass their chamber” said Tiberi in a statement.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown defended the senate and placed blame on House Republicans.

“Political stalemate is not a national security strategy and this is no way to deal with our deficit problems. Although we have to make cuts, they must be done in a responsible way that doesn’t threaten our national security or disproportionately burden those who serve our nation in uniform or as civilian employees. That’s why I am supportive of the Senate plan that includes a mix of spending cuts and increased revenue that would allow our first responders and teachers to keep their jobs; would not result in slashes to Medicare; and will maintain the strength of our national defense and military preparedness.”

At the White House, President Obama said not all the cuts will be felt at once but warned, “"The longer these cuts are in place, the bigger the impact will become".

House Speaker John Boehner blames Obama's lack of leadership.

"There is nothing wrong with cutting spending that much. We should be cutting even more, but the sequester is an ugly and dangerous way to do it,” said Boehner.
The cuts were designed to be so painful that they would force Democrats and Republicans into a better budget compromise.

But both sides now say that it has not worked.

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