With less than a week before the sequester deadline and no deal in sight to stop painful budget cuts from taking effect March 1, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., tells MSNBC’s Alex Witt it is a circumstance that could have been avoided.
“We didn’t have to be in this situation in the first place,” Rep. Blackburn said Saturday on Weekends with Alex Witt. “If the Senate would have taken up any of the bills we had last year that would have addressed this, and the House passed them, some of them with bipartisan support…they chose not to take them up.”
At the same time, President Obama is putting the blame on congressional Republicans for not getting a deal passed.
“Unfortunately, it appears that Republicans in Congress have decided that instead of compromising, instead of asking anything of the wealthiest Americans, they would rather let these cuts fall squarely on the middle class,” the president said in his weekly address Saturday.
Obama also made phone calls Thursday to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But Rep. Blackburn says that is not enough.
“It has been so deeply disappointing to me to see [President Obama] go out and campaign, rather than coming to the Hill and saying ‘let’s work through this together because it’s for the good of the American people,’” countered Rep. Blackburn.
Just about every federal agency will feel the brunt of the automatic cuts if Washington cannot reach a deal by Friday with the Defense Department taking the biggest hit. That department’s budget could see a cut of nearly $43 billion which will impact weapons purchases and base operations.
“When you talk about those who are involved with protecting our nation, they are incredibly concerned about what the debt is doing to our nation’s security,” said Rep. Blackburn. “This isn’t going to be easy but they know discretionary spending has to be cut, entitlements have to be reformed and Medicare and Social Security, our trust funds, have to be stabilized and Americans are up to the challenge on this.”