Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly and Governor Mike Pence weighed in on the government budget cuts that will go into effect if Congress does not reach a deal by Friday.
Donnellly says it appears sequestration cuts will go into effect before a deal is reached, though he says negotiations will not stop with the deadline. Pence says the state is planning for the cuts.
The automatic federal spending cuts known as sequestration could include $32 million in education cuts in Indiana, 11,000 furloughed civilian workers from the state’s defense sector and cuts to money for child immunizations and domestic violence prevention.
Donnelly says his preferred solution is significant spending reductions in some sectors balanced with necessary spending increases in others. Failing that, he says he wants more flexibility in where cuts must happen. Donnelly says about 1/30th of the cuts take place during the seven days after the March first deadline, with about a seventh of the cuts taking place in the first month.
“The fact that we do get to Friday without an agreement does not preclude the fact that we could come to an agreement shortly thereafter,” he says.
Pence says he is urging President Barack Obama and members of Indiana’s congressional delegation to make smarter and better cuts. He says he has also exploring ways the state can soften the blow if a deal is not reached.
“The good news for Hoosiers should be that because of the fiscal strength of our state, we are in a position to mitigate the impact of sequestrations in Indiana,” he says.
Pence says that could include offsetting education cuts with a boost in spending in the state’s next budget.