After a week delay, today was the day President Obama sent Congress his administration’s report on how it would implement $1 billion in across-the-board cuts known as sequestration.
It’s long, and complicated, but here’s the line that many in the media are highlighting from it: “This report, which provides preliminary estimates of the sequestration’s impact on more than 1,200 budget accounts, makes clear that sequestration would have a devastating impact on important defense and nondefense programs.”
Hawaii’s congressional delegation quickly responded to the news. Here are excerpts from press release statements:
Sen. Daniel Inouye:
The report did not contain anything extraordinary. We were aware the day the Congress passed the Budget Control Act that when the specter of sequestration became reality it would lead to furloughs, significant disruption of essential services, and would have a severe and immediate impact on the Department of Defense. The solution sits directly before us, as it has from the beginning. Negotiate a balanced package of tax reforms and mandatory spending adjustments that will close our budget deficit in a reasonable and measured way.
Sen. Daniel Akaka (whose statement comes in the context of his role as chair of the federal workforce subcommittee):
Everyone agrees that the sequester is a bad outcome for domestic programs and our national defense – and for the hard-working men and women who are responsible for them. Middle class federal employees - 80 percent of whom live outside of the D.C. area, in every state - should not have to worry about how they will pay their bills if Congress fails to act. Congress must come together to negotiate an alternative deficit reduction package that asks millionaires and billionaires to sacrifice along with the rest of the American people.
Rep. Mazie Hirono:
Sequestration’s meat-axe approach to cuts will have a serious impact on our national security and domestic prosperity. Clearly a balanced approach is what is needed. We can do it by finding common ground, targeting spending cuts, and reducing waste and fraud. In addition, the wealthiest two percent should pay their fair share of taxes and we should close loopholes for oil companies and major outsourcers. In these ways we can cut our deficit, support a strong national defense, and build the foundation of a dynamic 21st century economy without hurting our middle class.
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa:
Because it was outlined in the Budget Control Act, we have known for a long time about the sequestration deadline and the devastation it would cause to programs vital to our nation and our citizens. The Supercommittee failed to overcome its differences, and I share the view of President Obama and many of my colleagues that sequestration was a bad policy. Today’s report underlines that simple fact and is also a call for us to finally do the hard work it will take to develop more balanced approaches to reducing government spending.
— Michael Levine