Critics Say Obama Fearmongering on Sequester

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Congress returned to Washington Monday as the deadline looms for $85 billion in tax cuts.

With those sequester cuts set to kick in on Friday, the White House released a report this weekend to show its impact state by state.

"Once these cuts take effect, thousands of teachers and educators will be laid off, and tens of thousands of parents will have to scramble to find child care for their kids," President Obama warned in his weekly address.

Bill Frezza, a venture capitalist and regular columnist at Forbes.com, spoke more about the coming sequester, on Newswatch, Feb. 25.

"We think the rollout will take from March 1 to April 1 and they'll begin to see the activity and the layoffs and the delays probably beginning around April 1. … This is a big deal," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned Friday.

The White House report notes the following:

  • Virginia could see about 90,000 civilians furloughed in the Department of Defense.
  • Ohio will lose more than $25 million in funding for primary and secondary education, putting more than 300 teachers' jobs at risk.
  • Arizona would lose more than $1 million that provides meals for seniors.

Washington state could see some $159 million in funding and grants.

"I think the whole thing is a complete farce. It shows how Washington, D.C. is completely messed up and out of control," Washington state resident Robert Helsell said.

Critics call the report another White House fear tactic, designed to scare Americans and turn up the heat on Republicans.

"Management by crisis is getting old. The crisis doesn't look real anymore," Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, said.

"I think the whole thing is a complete farce. It shows how Washington, D.C. is completely messed up and out of control,"

"I won't put all the blame all on the president… But the president leads. The president should be calling us over somewhere -- Camp David, The White House, somewhere -- and us sitting down and trying to avert these cuts," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. said.

"The question is why he (President Obama) won't work with us? And the answer is because he wants higher taxes," Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said.

Scare tactics aside, both parties are trying to give the president more flexibility to target the cuts, which are expected to be phased in gradually over the next seven months. The goal: save more than $1 trillion in spending.

"They have plenty of flexibility in terms of discretion on how they spend money. There are easy ways to cut this money that the American people will never feel," Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said.

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