Kansas Senator Speaks About Potential Sequester Impacts

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Friday, March 1, 2013

It looks like Congress has failed in its budget battle. Automatic spending cuts known as “sequester” go into effect at midnight.

President Obama met with bipartisan congressional leaders to reach a last-minute deal to avoid the $85 billion in spending cuts. The White House has been warning about the possible impact for weeks. But today, the president admits not all of the cuts will be felt immediately and they won’t be felt by everyone.

“This is not going to be an apocalypse I think as some people have said,” Obama said. “It's just dumb.”

No state is immune to the pending budget cuts. KAKE’s Chris Frank caught up with Kansas Senator Jerry Moran in southeast Wichita to talk about some of the potential impacts on Kansas and why he thinks this is a silly way to cut spending.

“The reality is we spend a lot more money than we take in, and we can't afford to continue to do that,” Moran said.

Senator Moran says he doesn’t like the way it’s being done, but says reducing spending by the $85 billion involved is manageable.

“As far as the specifics to Kansas, we've heard what the administration has said,” he said. “Again, I think that's exaggerated and overstated.”

The White House says Kansas will lose about $5.5 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting 80 teaching jobs at risk. The White House also says up to 2,100 fewer food inspections could occur, putting families at risk and costing billions in lost food production.

“Should the department of agriculture decide they're not going to fund meat inspectors,” Moran said. “In my mind, that would be trying to find the most damaging thing that they can do to try to prove that cutting spending can't be done.”

He’s concerned it could create a problem for marketing Kansas cattle. Moran says there’s the suggestion that seven FAA control towers in Kansas be eliminated, including at the Garden City airport and the overnight shift at Mid-Continent in Wichita.

Moran says the defense department is taking an extraordinary part of the cuts, including furloughs for civilian employees.

The impact to McConnell and employees there is coming up on KAKE News at six.

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