State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

PA's Senators diverge on sequestration

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Feb 26, 2013 8:19 PM
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Pennsylvania’s two U.S. senators are at odds over how the country can avoid the worst effects of sequestration.

Republican Pat Toomey isn’t saying sequestration is the smartest way to cut spending, but at a recent banking hearing, he said he doubts the disastrous effects of the scheduled cuts.

“The fact is if the sequestration fully goes into effect in 2013, the federal government would spend more money in 2013 than it did in 2012,” said Toomey. “It’s hard for me to understand that as a draconian spending cuts and austerity.”

Toomey said he prefers giving federal agencies more control over how to distribute the $85 billion in cuts nationwide.

“Some cuts are more disruptive than others and it just seems that it could be less disruptive to our economy if they had a chance to do this through a thoughtful process than if it has to be done uniformly across the board,” he said.

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey said sequestration will hurt – and the way to avoid the pain is to cut spending while increasing taxes.

“You can’t say that it’s a bad idea to have this go into place, go into effect, but let’s just have another way to move the cuts around,” he said. He favors replacing the across-the-board cuts with a package of both targeted cuts and tax increases.

The Obama administration estimates the cuts will have a $220 million impact in Pennsylvania. The figure includes 150 million dollars in lost pay for furloughed civilian employees of the Department of Defense.

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