Northeast Ohio members of Congress weigh in on sequestration cuts

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Ohio Republicans and Democrats in Congress may be on different sides of the sequester battle, but they are in agreement on one thing: the impact of the cuts could have a huge impact on the state.

"It means flights will be delayed at Hopkins in all likelihood," said Sen. Sherrod Brown. While Rep. Jim Renacci  worried about the impact on defense.

"Some say we'll be taking our military force back to 1940 levels. We'll be eliminating the readiness of our military. That's a real problem for me and many members of Congress," Renacci said.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur listed cuts to NASA Glenn among her concerns.

"Important facilities like NASA will likely have one of their chief missions stopped or curbed substantially," she said.

The $85 billion in cuts amounts to about 2.5 percent of the federal budget.

"We'll still spend more money in the federal government this year than last year," Renacci said. "It's a cut that again the American family has had to make over the last couple of years."

That's why Sen. Rob Portman thinks the compromise should lie in finding a way to keep the cuts, but in areas that cause less pain than those in the sequester.

"I think we need to keep the same savings, but do it in a much smarter way with a scalpel, not with a meat cleaver," Portman said.

Brown, for his part though, said tax reform needed to be part of any equation moving forward.

"We should make some cuts but we also should ask the wealthy to pay a little more," said Brown. "We ought to say to Wall Street and the oil companies, 'You're not going to get your tax breaks that you've been getting.'"

Renacci disagreed.

"The problem with new taxes, that's always the answer can you imagine that if you taxed the American people 100 percent of their income it still wouldn't be enough to balance our budget so we got to start looking at the spending side of things."

Kaptur though said the pain of the across the board cuts though is not being felt evenly.

"They're trimming flesh from the middle class, while there are those who have lots of fat and they're not on the table at all," she said.

Other Northeast Ohio representatives weighing in:

Rep. Marcia Fudge: "Congress's focus should be on restoring America's promise to its people. If we allow this sequester to happen, we're saying that our political agendas are more important than the ability to take care of our families. The American people expect and deserve more."

Rep. David Joyce: "Only in Washington could something like sequestration occur and it's my hope we move quickly to replace these cuts.  While there's no doubt Washington must get its spending under control, there are better ways to control spending than sequestration.

"There's plenty of wasteful spending coming out of Washington and Congress should focus on cutting that waste rather than sequester cuts that could harm our military and Northeast Ohio jobs," said Joyce.

Rep. Bob Gibbs:  "One of the major problems we are facing is the fact that a large portion of the budget is currently exempt from any cuts.  We must put in place common-sense reforms to these programs that allow for responsible cuts that do not result in the Department of Defense absorbing a disproportionate share of the cuts."

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