Maui News

Hawai’i Delegation Weighs in as Sequestration Imminent

February 28, 2013, 12:59 PM HST
* Updated February 28, 4:40 PM
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US Capitol

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Editor’s note: See our analysis of how the sequestration will impact Hawaii here.

By Wendy Osher

Hawaii’s senatorial delegates in Washington announced their opposition to a Republican plan to address sequestration saying the impacts will hurt middle-class families.

The reaction comes as those on both sides weigh in on how to approach deficit reduction and potential across-the-board cuts to government.

“President Obama has clearly stated that he will veto [the Republicans’] proposal because it’s not a realistic solution and is a dangerous approach to addressing the deficit,” said US Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawai’i.

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“We can avert this disaster through smart reductions in domestic and defense spending, and by closing tax loopholes,” he said.

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At a press conference with Republican leaders earlier this week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called on the president to stop using the military as a campaign prop to demand more tax hikes. He said the president has known for 16 months that the sequester was looming and suggested that the president start working with his own Democratic-controlled Senate to act on a credible plan to avert the sequester.

US Senator Mazie K. Hirono joined fellow US Sen. Schatz of Hawaii in expressing dissatisfaction with the vote, calling the spending cuts outlined in the Republican plan “arbitrary.”

“They are bad for our national security, bad for our economy and bad for jobs,” said Sen. Hirono of the planned cuts saying they would “slow our economy’s recovery, hurt our military readiness and cause job losses.”

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Sen. Hirono said she was disappointed that compromise proposal did not pass, calling it “a balanced approach that would have significantly reduced the size and scope of these cuts by closing loopholes that benefit the very wealthy and big corporations.”

“Forcing the president to choose where the axe will fall instead of addressing the job killing cuts themselves is not the solution families in Hawaii want,” said Hirono who has hopes that those on both sides of the issue will come back to the negotiating table.

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