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Budget debate: Compromise loses out to complaints

Posted February 28, 2013
Updated March 1, 2013

— Members of North Carolina's congressional delegation were bitter Thursday that $85 billion in federal spending cuts would take effect Friday, eventually hitting everything from the military to airports to public schools.

Rather than regret over their inability to reach a compromise to avoid the across-the-board cuts, however, Democrats and Republicans continued to squabble and blame each other.

"The sequestration meat ax is likely to fall indiscriminately, with great damage to the economy," Democratic 4th District Congressman David Price said. "I don't think there's much question that it's the Republicans who have failed to deal here."

Republican 2nd District Congresswoman Renee Ellmers said there's plenty of blame to pass around Washington, D.C., for the gridlock, especially since there doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency about the looming cuts.

"This whole deal was put together in the summer of 2011. This is something, as Republicans, that we have been talking for this entire time," Ellmers said.

The Senate knocked down two last-ditch efforts to block the spending cuts Thursday afternoon.

A Republican proposal requiring President Barack Obama to propose alternative cuts that would cause less disruption in essential government services fell to overwhelming Democratic opposition, 62-38.

Moments later, a Democratic alternative to spread the cuts over a decade and replace half with higher taxes on millionaires and corporations won a bare majority, 51-49, but that was well shy of the 60 votes needed to advance. Republicans opposed it without exception.

"We just cannot increase taxes on the American people any more. They have struggled enough," Ellmers said.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said she voted against both proposals, saying neither addressed long-term debt problems. Money generic Blame game goes on as spending cuts take effect

"It is just kicking the can down the road for another extension. We know this deadline's here. We've known it for a long time," Hagan said.

Budget cuts to military spending could hurt North Carolina's economy, with thousands of civilian defense employees expected to be furloughed. With most cuts to education spending and extended delays at airports not expected to hit for weeks or months, however, elected leaders are digging in for a protracted battle.

"The sun is going to come out tomorrow, and life's going to go on," Ellmers said. "Even though there are going to be difficulties that we're going to see, that different agencies are going to have to deal with, they're going to have to make the sensible cuts that are important."

Price said he sees no good coming from the standoff.

"It's an embarrassment for the greatest country in the world to be in this kind of fix because our politics are so dysfunctional," he said. "Our country just can't collapse. We've got to get this together. I've never seen it this bad politically."

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  • Rebelyell55 Mar 1, 3:49 p.m.

    The problem is , that cut will not effect Congress or the top excutive group. They'll not be effected. All of the rest of us will be. someone posted the increase in SS payment, while they failed to menition the increae in medicare payment. Which more than wiped out any increase.

  • junkmail5 Mar 1, 3:36 p.m.

    2%. All this over 2%. Everyone's Social Security withholding went up 2% at the beginning of 2013. Was it some catastrophic "meat ax?" The Democrats are playing the American people for fools.
    saturn5

    You're failing to understand what is happening.

    This is not 2% to just the total budget.

    It's 2% to EACH ITEM in the budget.

    For example if you take a 2% pay cut you can probably get by cutting out some $ from food, or gas, or entertainment to cover that.

    But how about if you start sending your mortgage company 2% less? or your health insurance premium 2% less? Or a car payment 2% less?

    That's the nature of the across-the-board sequester and why it can cause a lot of problems.

    It's not the amount, it's how the cuts are applied.

  • weasel2 Mar 1, 1:01 p.m.

    How do they like the great emancipator now????

  • SouthernPackerFan Mar 1, 12:16 p.m.

    actually, States with no States tax's grow their economy much slower, you want Turtle Express economy, well you'll get it

  • SouthernPackerFan Mar 1, 12:08 p.m.

    "It's an embarrassment that Americans re-elected the most incompetent and egomancial president in U.S. history." timexliving

    I thought conservatives wanted W left alone.

    Flow Easy
    I actually thought they were refering to Reagan?

  • torchhappysean Mar 1, 12:07 p.m.

    Can't pass a budget so we'll take a vacation day today instead of working on it.... THIS is getting to be too much!!! It's waay past time to start punishing politicians for their sorry work ethic!!

  • saturn5 Mar 1, 12:00 p.m.

    2%. All this over 2%.
    Everyone's Social Security withholding went up 2% at the beginning of 2013. Was it some catastrophic "meat ax?"
    The Democrats are playing the American people for fools.

  • goldenosprey Mar 1, 12:00 p.m.

    The rightwing cheerleaders are immune to facts with their well known liberal bias and math, which was invented by left wing college professors.

    When Reagan and W were exploding the deficit it was the dems' fault. But the same rule does not apply to Obama.

  • superman Mar 1, 11:43 a.m.

    We have known for several years that something would have to be done about the wild reckless spending. I support the cuts and want them to "cut" more. If we continue on the current road the chinese will be appointing our president. Of course, we might have a better one. There are cuts everywhere. People and government has been living beyond their means for years and it just has to stop. Everything I have is paid for, house, 3 cars, and no credit card balance. If you cant afford it-dont buy it.

  • Sherlock Mar 1, 11:30 a.m.

    But no one in either the House or Senate have jump at taking a pay cut, and the Governor has given out raises to his buddies all at the expense of taxpayer and now the golden cow is drying up! But we voted everyone of them in...

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