Toomey draws up measure to soften sequester
Proposal would allow Obama to choose where to cut
February 27, 2013 12:16 am
By Tracie Mauriello / Post-Gazette Washington Bureau
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said he will allow each caucus to offer only one alternative for an up-or-down vote.
As it stands, defense spending would be cut by 13 percent and most other departments and programs would be cut uniformly by about 9 percent over the next seven months.
"It gives no discretion to the managers of the agencies or the administration -- or anyone, for that matter -- to decide which of these programs has greater importance, greater urgency than another," Mr. Toomey said. “There are any number of contrasts and comparisons you could make, but -- in my view -- a government subsidy to Solyndra wouldn't be as high a priority as maintaining air-traffic controllers."
Republicans including Sen. John McCain of Arizona have said that kind of approach relinquishes congressional budgetary authority to the president.
"I understand [Mr. McCain's] point, and this is why I have consistently said the Senate ought to do its work. We haven’t been doing budgets these past two years," he said.
"We shouldn't be governing by crisis and governing by [fiscal] cliff. I wish we weren't in this position ... but I'm dealing with the reality that faces us on Friday morning," he said. "I'm trying to make a bad situation less bad."
"Spending always ultimately gets paid for by confiscating [money] from the more productive private sector," Mr. Toomey said during a Senate Budget Committee hearing Tuesday.
Republicans are adamant that they won’t let that happen this time.
"The administration can either go ahead and make very disruptive spending cuts ... or they could support my legislation, which would give them the flexibility and the authority to do this in a way that is least disruptive and does the least harm," Mr. Toomey told reporters Tuesday evening.
First Published February 27, 2013 12:00 am
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