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Coats Says Bipartisan Budget Only Way To End Sequester

Senator Dan Coats (left) answers questions at a forumn moderated by Herald Times Editor Bob Zaltsberg (right) at Chapman's in Bloomington.

With several Indiana air traffic control towers set to close this year, Senator Dan Coats says it’s time for the federal sequester to end. The senator Wednesday told a Bloomington audience President Obama needs write a budget both sides can agree on.

Senator Coats, speaking Wednesday at an event sponsored by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, says despite partisan bickering in Washington, he’s confident the sequester can be resolved – but not without a subtle dig at the president.

“There is a plan, and it requires that the President embrace the plan,” he says. “That is what we have been talking to him personally about in terms of getting away from this ‘crisis to crisis’ way of budgeting and way of running the government.”

Monroe County Airport Director Bruce Payton, whose control tower is scheduled to close in September as a result of the sequester, is petitioning the Federal Aviation Administration to keep its facility open.

Coats says his office penned a letter in support of the Monroe County tower, but the senator hedged Wednesday on the need for the type of discretionary cuts which have put it on the chopping block.

“I think the agencies need discretion in terms of how they allocate these cuts,” he says. “We have to have some reasonable cuts in place because the budget is running away from us; on the other hand, the agencies have to have the flexibility to cut the non essential, and separate that from the essential.”

Coats says after having dinner with The President last month, he is confident Mr. Obama is listening to both Democrats and Republicans, but adds that until what he calls a truly bipartisan budget comes from the Oval Office, nothing will be resolved.

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