Tue February 26, 2013
Collins says sequestration should go into effect
Rep. Chris Collins says sequestration will, and should, go into effect on March 1.
Collins, the freshman Republican representing New York's 27th District, says the country continues to live beyond its means and must take steps to reduce spending.
If sequestration goes into effect, a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts to government agencies totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years will kick in. While conceding a vast difference in scale, Collins looked back to his own experience with tough fiscal situations as Erie County Executive.
"As county executive, we made the tough decisions to get our spending under control without trying to hold the public hostage. It didn't make me popular with certain groups, but we did get our fiscal house in order. We have to get our spending under control, balance our budget, and pay down our debt here in Washington. As some point, everyone's going to have to make some sacrifices," said Collins.
Collins said President Obama has failed to show leadership on the looming sequester and continue to "politicize" the process. He says many of the nation's woes are tied to the Senate's failure to pass a budget in nearly four years.
One of the most visible examples of the effects of sequestration, should it go into effect Friday, could be at the nation's airports. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the Transportation Security Administration would have to furlough workers due to the automatic spending cuts, likely resulting in much longer lines at airport security stations.
Air traffic controllers could also be furloughed. The TSA is just one of dozens of federal agencies that could be be adversely affected by the automatic spending cuts if an agreement to avoid the sequester isn't reached. Collins says President Obama is playing politics in refusing to work with House Republicans on a deal.
"Back as Erie County Executive, when I made cuts, I did not cut a single sheriff's deputy in the road patrol. We did not reduce funding in any way for anything to do with public safety. Sure, we cut funding to Shakespeare in The Park. But what this president is doing when he goes to a department head or a secretary and they have to have cuts, you don't have to start with the front line, with the TSA agents or the air traffic controllers, but that's what this president is going to do," said Collins.
Collins says be believes the sequester will happen and tough decision must be made to get the nation's fiscal house in order. The freshman Republican says a "crisis to crisis" mentality can't be allowed to continue in Washington.
Collins says sequestration has rapidly become a reality.
"There's no question the sequester is going to go into effect on March 1 because the American public knows, just like families, we have to learn to live within our means," said Collins. "This is an $85 billion reduction in spending where we're headed to another trillion dollars of deficit," noted Collins.