Siouxland senators comment on sequestration - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Siouxland senators comment on sequestration

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© "Just eight weeks after the president got his last tax increase, his solution is to raise taxes on hard working Americans to replace the sequester," said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) © "Just eight weeks after the president got his last tax increase, his solution is to raise taxes on hard working Americans to replace the sequester," said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

Mandatory budget cuts hit the nation, and Siouxland, in just two days. The White House says the $85 billion of reductions will touch everything from education, to air travel.

It's called "sequestration," a policy put in place in 2011 to motivate Congress to cut $4 trillion from the deficit. So far it hasn't worked, and the White House says these cuts are the penalty.

President Obama had a brief chat with GOP leaders, Wednesday. He's calling lawmakers to the White House Friday to discuss the cuts, after they take effect.

Republicans claim the timing is part of the president's plan to make the sequester hit harder than it has to, and blame them when it does.

The topic has become a national debate and Siouxland senators have weighed in with their opinions. Republicans say the nation can afford the cuts if they're targeted. Democrats say there needs to be compromise, or consequences.

Monday, the White House released reports showing how the sequester would hit each state. Iowa would be out $6.4 million in education funding. South Dakota would lose more than $1.1 million, funding for water and air quality. And Nebraska would furlough 4,000 Department of Defense civilian employees.

Siouxland Democrats call cuts significant. Senator Tim Johnson warned in a press release the impact would be "very negative" for South Dakota. He says the Senate will be voting on a balanced approach to avoid the cuts and raise revenue. He says "Profitable big oil companies, corporate jet owners, and hedge fund managers can and should contribute their fair share to deficit reduction."

Local Republicans say the concern over sequestration is all part of Democrats' and the president's plan to scare the public into a tax hike.

"He's traveling around the country like the sky is falling," said U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, of Iowa.

"Just eight weeks after the president got his last tax increase, his solution is to raise taxes on hard working Americans to replace the sequester," said U.S. Senator John Thune, of South Dakota.

Republicans have proposed letting the sequester cuts happen, but targeting them to lessen the blown.

"We can identify responsible spending cuts, and yes, we can get on the road to balancing our budget," said U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, of Nebraska.

The president, however, says targeting the sequester won't make any difference.

"You can't gloss over the pain and the impact it's going to have on the economy," said President Obama.

Both parties are playing the blame game in the debate, while the public is making up their own mind as to who's right. An NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll finds a majority of Americans --53%-- want Congress to go ahead with sequestration, or to cut even more spending.

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