Governors of Both Parties Glad to Be Rid of Sequestration

Sunday, 23 Feb 2014 08:58 AM

By John Gizzi

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Although conservatives generally praised the sequester before it was eased last year, the nation's governors were universal in saying "good riddance" to the controversial across-the board cuts in federal spending.

In response to a question from Newsmax Saturday at the Washington, D.C., meeting of the National Governors Association, governors of both parties pulled no punches in voicing relief that the sequester and its mandated cuts were behind them.

The tone at this year's session was in sharp contrast to the NGA conclave of a year ago, when much of the governors' time was spent on discussing ideas for dealing with the cuts in services they were required to make under the sequester.

The sequester is akin to being "told to lose weight, so you chop off your foot off," said Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert. The fiscal cliff and government shutdown which followed the sequester were not good for the country, he said.

In contrast to the sequester, Herbert said, governors were discussing with the administration a scenario in which "we will take less [federal] money if you take away the strings and red tape. Strings sometime get in the way."

Herbert said he discussed this idea of "less money, less strings" on Friday with Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, whom Herbert called "a local government guy." Prior to joining the Obama Cabinet, Foxx was mayor of Charlotte, N.C.

North Dakota Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple told Newsmax that while his state has a "strong economy, we still dealt with the effects of sequestration last year."

"We had to make up a substantial amount of money," said Dalrymple. "We had to jump through hoops to deal with sequestration."

For North Dakotans, he explained, this meant, forced cuts in flood control and water supplies, both of which are in part funded by federal tax dollars.

"The cuts were across-the-board then and now they are specific," Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, told Newsmax. "The priorities are being handled in a different way instead of using a meat ax."

Beebe, who is not running for re-election this year, said that "people didn't like antics" in Congress that led to the implementation of the sequester, and that this resulted in "high disapproval ratings of Congress."

If there was anything good that came from sequestration, he added, "It was that it changed some attitudes in Washington. Now we're going to get a budget."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.


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