The Edmond Sun

State News

February 4, 2013

Mullin: Sequestration likely March 1

MCALESTER — District 2 U.S. Rep, Markwayne Mullin, R-Oklahoma, says he expects sequestration to occur March 1.

Mullin made the statement while speaking to the News-Capital on Friday prior to his town hall meeting at the Kiamichi Technology Center. He also repeated it later after the town hall meeting was under way.

“This is a pure example of government at its ‘best,”’ Mullin said with sarcasm directed at Congress and the administration after the News-Capital asked him if he thought sequestration could be avoided.

Sequestration is the term used to refer to $1.2 trillion in automatic across-the-board spending cuts for both defense and non-defense spending which is set to go into effect March 1 if the president and Congress do not act to stop it before then.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, has issued a statement saying that up to 1,700 civilian employees at McAAP face furloughs if sequestration goes into effect — and that’s only the beginning of the cuts McAAP would see.

Mullin said the numbers of projected civilian job furloughs at McAAP that he’s hearing aren’t that high, but are still are in the 200 range.

He referred to the fact that sequestration as it now stands will require across-the- board cuts, regardless of the worth of the program.

“We can see how productive and how well-planned our ammunition plant is,” he said.

Referring to sequestration and Congress as a whole, Mullin said. “We’re going to let it happen.”

However, Sen. Inhofe hasn’t given up the fight to try and avert sequestration. Even if Mullin is convinced sequestration will take place, would he be ready to fight to avert it, if the opportunity arises?

Mullin said he’s here to represent the best interests of McAAP.

Later, Mullin brought up sequestration during the town hall meeting.

He said he’s “95 percent sure” it will occur when the March 1 deadline hits.

“Government does not look at what is best,” Mullin said. He said the across-the-board cuts will be from 8 to 9 percent.

“It’s a crying shame to do that because there’s so many programs that’s worthless,’ Mullin said, referring to what he feels are government programs that could be cut to save money.

Now, he sees no strong will in Congress as a whole to stop sequestration from going into effect as scheduled.

“Unfortunately, it’s going to happen,” he said, at one point adding, “I’m sorry.”

Mullin also made a point of saying that he had never voted in favor of the sequestration measure.

The idea behind sequestration had supposedly been for the House and Senate to avert such Draconian cuts in the budget by being forced to come to an agreement on lesser cuts on their own.

Sequestration had originally been set to go into effect after the first of the year, but Congress kicked it down the road until March 1, with the time in between supposedly to be used to come to an agreement before the deadline.

Now, some members of Congress are either ready to let the sequestration ball drop, or are saying it’s inevitable that it will occur.

It remains to be seen if those who are strongly opposed to sequestration will be able to stop it.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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