One on One With Steve Southerland - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

One on One With Steve Southerland

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Just seven days to go before the self-imposed federal budget sequester becomes reality.

The across the board spending cuts in domestic and defense programs would begin March 1st Cngress doesn't come up with a new plan.

Democrats and Republicans can't agree on cuts for new legislation, but until they reach a compromise, it's all systems go for the automatic cuts in one week.

District 2 Representative Steve Southerland says he doesn't expect a vote before the deadline, we had the chance to sit down with him in this week's One on One.

Amy: If on March 1st, you don't compromise and automatic cuts go into effect is gonna hurt the military? Yes or no?

Southerland: Well every department in Washington D.C. will be affected...to extremes? Uh, or is it much to do about nothing? Well, let me say this, we are talking about a two percent cut in the budget, last year we spent almost $3.5 trillion and were talking about a two percent cut, ah, hardly draconian, ah, I don't like again, I don't like across the board cuts because I think, I wish defense would have a flexibility to be able to determine which programs they do not need and which programs they can do away with and which programs need to be protected, ah, and in our replacement bill we give them that flexibility ah, but ah, listen, when you say two percent, it's hard for the American people to believe that Washington D.C. Can not afford a two percent reduction in government spending...Amy, it really is amazing, the money, the spending wealthiest counties in America are the five counties that make up Washington D.C.

It sounds like your willing to let those cuts go into effect, the sequestration cuts, well I think they will go into effect. To make cuts, how do you stop that and say we're gonna make changes the way those cuts are made now, cause we finally came up with something...well I think that ah, as much as I hate to say it, I think this is a big game of chicken, and I think that once you start seeing the effects of these cuts, um, I think it, it drives people to collaborate ok then come up with a solution. I think the departments need flexibility especially DOD, the department of defense need flexibility so just because these cuts go into effect on March 1st, that doesn't mean that on March 2nd second there can't be a solution to avoid them for the long haul.

Amy: But I will, so you don't think Congress will come up with its own? No, no I think they will, by next Friday? No! But I think they will go into effect March 1st, ah, but then I think it is going to be very interesting to see how quick after March 1st a solution is brought forward just because they go into effect it doesn't mean it's a forever thing...its a forever thing?

Southerland: No. I think that is what a lot of people are missing...no, so you can still come back...absolutely and but how do you pull back, once something has started?so at any point in time ah, the solution can be created to turn it off.

The original deadline was January 1st, but Congress approved an extension on New Years Eve...but that two months is almost up and still no agreement. Congress is back in session on Monday.